[OPE-L:6322] Re: recent science and society and Fred M's interpretation

From: charlie (charles1848@value.net)
Date: Tue Jan 15 2002 - 23:32:54 EST

Concerning the role that the Marxist theory of value plays in
revolutionary activity, I suggest:

1)  Up to now, the capitalist order has survived movements that
threatened to abolish it. Capitalism has done so by delivering
improvements in living conditions and by forcibly suppressing

2)  Suppression is crucial at climactic moments, but if an
economic system cannot deliver improvements in living conditions
("a better life"), then the people will keep trying to overthrow
it. After one, two, or several tries, they will overcome

3)  Therefore, an important task of economic theory is to
demonstrate that the capitalist order still has the potential to
deliver a better life, or that it no longer has this potential,
or that we do not know either way.

Along these lines, I wrote a book called From Capitalism to
Equality: An Inquiry into the Laws of Economic Change. It offers
an argument that capitalism no longer has the potential to
deliver a better life. Obviously, there are still improvements
being made in living conditions for sections of people, but
overall, the trend for thirty years has been downward for the
bulk of each generation compared with the previous generation.

It turned out that the argument of the book needed the Marxist
theory of value, but the inquiry makes the question of the "end
of capitalism" a matter of investigation. That is, the answer
depends on the facts at different phases in the life of
capitalism. This is in contrast to arguments based on inherent
characteristics of capitalism -- including certain arguments from
a tendency toward a falling rate of profit.

Charles Andrews
Web page for my book is at http://www.laborrepublic.org

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