[OPE-L:7886] Re: Re: 'Hic Rhodus, hic salta!'

From: clyder@gn.apc.org
Date: Fri Nov 01 2002 - 16:57:32 EST

Quoting gerald_a_levy <gerald_a_levy@msn.com>:

> > > This strikes me as arrant subjectivism. Known to whom?
> > Why is knowing it important?>
> > You express the viewpoint of the individual bourgeois, who needs
> > to know if his particular investment will pay.
> On the contrary,  the 'subjectivist perspective' of the bourgeoisie is
> best represented by the presumption that because commodities are
> produced and because commodities have been sold in the past
> that therefore this will continue into the future and the C will once
> again be able to be converted into M'.

I am meaning subjectivist in a more technical sense, one in which
the model of the world held by a subject ,be they juridical or personal,
is mistaken for the world.

The sale of goods is the means by which the firm as a subject builds
its internal model of the necessity of its product. But it is the
necessisity of lack of it of the product that determines the sale.
To say the sale or absence thereof determines the necessity is to
mistake the model for the reality.

>   This viewpoint of the
> bourgeoisie is torn asunder during an economic crisis and what
> was assumed by capital to be a "given" (the transformation of C
> into M') becomes merely an unactualized possibility -- indeed a
> whim and a fantasy of the ruling class.
> Once in the crisis, then the altered standpoint of capital (the realization
> that the dream of endless profit has been transformed into the
> nightmare of crisis) is important for more than just individual capitalists
> since increased investment in C + V will only occur when (dare I say
> the word?) *expectations* of profitability become more favorable.
> Weren't expectations critically important for Kalecki's theory (who you
> refer favorably to elsewhere) as well as Keynes's theory?  While
> this isn't -- perhaps -- relevant for an analysis at the level of
> abstraction of _Capital_ it surely is important when considering the
> *timing and duration* of economic crises.
> > Considered objectively, there will be underlying causes which will
> > determine how much of each commodity will get sold. The quantity sold
> > is determined by various objective conditions - for instance the
> > quantity of steel sold is determined by the current production levels
> > in the steel using industries. It is this requirement that determines
> > how much labour - given current technical conditions - is socially
> > necessary in steel production. These objective conditions determine
> > the sales. The quantity sold reveals to the individual bourgeois whether
> > the labour he employed was socially necessary. But if steel production
> > exceeds current steel consumption then some of the labour expended on
> > steel production is unnecessary. It is not the lack of sales that makes
> > labour unnecessary but labour's lack of necessity that explains the
> > dearth of sales.
> Your choice of an example (steel)  is not very representative since it
> is  an intermediate good which is purchased by other capitalists as an
> input of constant capital.  When one examines cases where the final
> commodity is purchased by the working-class or other classes as a
> means of consumption then the only "objective" factor is the amount of
> income available to those classes for consumption spending.  When
> one then looks at the composition of  commodity sales, i.e. which
> commodities are sold and which are not, then that is no longer as
> easy to determine "objectively". For many of these other commodities
> it is indeed the lack of sales "that makes labour unnecessary".  Thus
> when firms have unsold inventories of commodities they cut back on
> production and thereby cut back on their demand for labour-power.
> I also wrote:
> > Thus my point to Fred about the role of
> > "givens" in Marx's theory -- if something is taken to be given now at one
> > stage in the reconstruction in thought of the object (capitalism) then one
> > must  be able to specify *what* later stage in the analysis it will _no
> > longer be_  given (but is instead shown to be either a result or modified)
> > and then one has to develop that comprehension.
> To which Paul replied:
> > That is true enough, and it is then later analysis of the reproduction
> > schemes that dispells the subjectivist interpretation of SNLT that
> > you were advancing earlier.
> Please be more specific. What aspect of the analysis of the reproduction
> schemes dispels what you call (erroneously -- using loaded terminology,
> btw) the 'subjectivist interpretation' of SNLT?  It seems to me that it
> is precisely in the analysis of the reproduction schemes that we see
> the emphasis on the crucial nature of the actualization of surplus value.
> Indeed, in that analysis Marx develops the *formal abstract possibility of
> crisis* precisely through that recognition.
> Previously Paul wrote:
> > The level of abstraction used is one in which the divisions of surplus
> value
> > are ignored and one just looks at the social labour budget and works out
> > how many social working hours per day are required to reproduce the
> > working population at its current level of consumption.
> > One is not at this stage concerned with the monetary equations operating
> > at the level of the national accounts which determine the accounting
> > profit of the corporate sector, the flow of funds between it and the
> > banking  sector etc.
> I then asked:
> > At the level of analysis national accounts don't all contradictions come
> > into play?  Or is that only the world market?
> Paul replied:
> > At the level of the national accounts, according to Kalecki the trade
> > surplus acts as another determinant of profits.
> This is a very good point which would be well worth our discussing.
> How do trade imbalances among countries lead to a redistribution of
> capitalist profit internationally?  What are the *other* international
> mechanisms that also lead to a redistribution of profits internationally?
> Since trade surpluses and deficits can be affected by the state, through
> e.g. exchange rate policies, what is the role of nation states in this
> process?  And (to ask a relevant question for today's news): isn't war
> another means whereby profits can be redistributed internationally?
> In solidarity, Jerry

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