[OPE-L:5303] Re: Re: Unproductive labour and illusions of competition

From: Allin Cottrell (cottrell@wfu.edu)
Date: Sat Mar 31 2001 - 19:12:56 EST

On Sat, 31 Mar 2001, Gerald_A_Levy wrote:

> Re Paul C's [5203]:
> No one has answered the above post (which
> is reproduced at the end of this post).

Paul's post was closely argued and took a bit of digesting.  I printed
it out and studied it the other day.  I find it very persuasive.  The
gist of it is that if an armaments industry is transferred from state
to private capitalist ownership, with no change in the technical
conditions of production, the effects are (a) that the
armaments-producing capitalists make a profit, but (b) the capitalist
class a a whole must pay higher taxes to finance the arms-producers'
profits, so that the net effect on profits is zero.

The shift of the arms industry to the capitalist sector could augment
aggregate profits only it it were accompanied by (a) a shift in the
tax burden towards the working class, raising the general rate of
surplus labour, or (b) an increase in deficit financing on the part of
the state.  But both of these factors are "extraneous", in the sense
that they are not logically associated with the change in ownership of
the arms industry and could equally well occur in the absence of such
a change in ownership.

Paul makes a good case for the proposition that the "classical"
marxian analysis of productive and unproductive labour is not adequate
to grasp the issue.

Allin Cottrell.

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