[OPE-L:7644] Re: Re: monopolies in natural resources

From: gerald_a_levy (gerald_a_levy@msn.com)
Date: Tue Sep 10 2002 - 17:43:40 EDT

Re Gil's [7643]:

> Jerry's comments below underscore the importance of distinguishing two
> senses of the term "monopoly"--the one used by Marx in describing a
> condition of absolute scarcity, and the one used by (e.g.) Adam Smith and
> the neoclassicals in describing a situation in which given market actors
> enjoy the power to *set* the market price for a good, rather than taking
> the market price as *given* (say, by the intersection of supply and
> demand).  I understand Fred to refer to the condition of "absolute
> scarcity" invoking only the former, Marxian sense of "monopoly,"-- a sense
> in which notions like "collusion" and "cartel agreements" have no
> place --rather than the sense that Jerry describes below.

Hi Gil.  Can we discuss this some more?

Fred, in [7636], wrote about what landlords wouldn't "allow" in relationship
to rent.

My point was very simple:  whether rent is levied and what the size of
rent isn't determined (alone; one-sidedly) by what landlords will or will
not  "allow".  It is determined by  ...  what?

My answer to that question is:  CLASS STRUGGLE.

To only focus on what landlords will allow takes the class struggle out
of rent determination.  It, in effect, asserts that landlords can simply
dictate terms to capitalists.  Yet, there are means through which
capitalists can attempt to break monopolies. Indeed, my previous point
was that  the very existence of rent suggests that there will be attempts to
develop alternatives to payment by various means (e.g. through
technological change).

If Fred is not focusing on this issue now, it could be that the subject that
Makoto, Fred, Rakesh, and yourself have been discussing relates most
directly to Volume 3 of _Capital_ rather than to the subject of Landed
Property (Book 2).  But, if we are to talk about rent determination outside
of the context of  the "money commodity  and the transformation problem"
then we have to leave the realm of equations and numerical illustrations and
enter the real world of class conflict.  Given your interest in
game-theoretic  approaches to political economy, this is a point that I
think you should  appreciate.

Where did you get the idea, btw (NB: this is only a btw), that for Marx
monopolies necessarily take the market price as given?

In solidarity, Jerry

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