[OPE-L:5301] Re: Re: Unproductive labour and illusions of competition

From: Rakesh Narpat Bhandari (rakeshb@Stanford.EDU)
Date: Sat Mar 31 2001 - 11:47:14 EST

Well, two simple points:

1st there are two perspectives to consider: the seller of arms and 
the purchaser of arms. Paul C argues that the private production and 
sale of arms is not productive of value while (I believe) the 
orthodox Marxist would instead underline (and it seems to me that 
Paul C's own example of a private arms dealer can be read this way) 
that with the purchase of arms, the buyer is not thereby equipped to 
transmit the value of the arms to future commodity output in which 
surplus labor would have been absorbed. The arms, like luxury goods, 
are unreproductive goods in terms of the further accumulation of 
capital from the perspective of the purchaser and total capital. Arms 
are thus unreproductive goods, according to then orthodox Marxist 
Mario Cogoy.

So if the state has borrowed to buy arms, it cannot as a result 
thereof produce the additional value with which to retire the debt 
(principal and interest). It will have to print money, tax or borrow 

Paul C wants to make the additional argument that the arms producer 
has not produced value. And I don't believe this gets to the heart of 
the matter.

What is more important is that the purchaser--the state or even a 
private buyer--has expended (instead of accumulated) value, even 
though the level of production in society as a whole--and here is the 
basis of the more important illusion which Paul C misses-- would not 
immediately reflect the destruction of value since  as a result of 
the arms dealer having realized value there is additional income via 
the multiplier to realize commodity values.

Second--and here Paul C and Allin did not reply to me--the 
expenditure of surplus value on arms does not slow down the 
accumulation process if that surplus value would have lain (sp?) idle 
anyways. So such expenditure can help to maintain higher production 
levels in the short term than would have otherwise obtained (I don't 
think this is an idle point). hence, the temptation of the capitalist 
state to embark on programs of militarization.

Yours, Rakesh

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