Re: (OPE-L) Re: From Ian Wright on Weeks and Simple Commodity Production

From: Paul Cockshott (wpc@DCS.GLA.AC.UK)
Date: Tue May 20 2003 - 10:17:15 EDT

gerald_a_levy wrote:

> Paul C wrote on  Tuesday, May 20: > It (Capitalism, JL) is inherently a transitory mode
> > of production that can only persist so long as it is surrounded
> > by pre-capitalist production. *Why* can't capitalism persist after the disappearance ofpre-capitalist production? In solidarity, Jerry

My hypothesis, based mainly on the history of British capitalism, the
historical lead example is that once the latent reserve army of labour,
both internal and external is exhausted, then over accumulation of
capital occurs with the following effects:

1. Organic compositions tend to rise

2. Demand for a static or falling labour pool inhibits constrains
    the production of surplus value

3. Inherent tendancies towards deflation set in in consequence which
    can only be masked by monetary and fiscal intervention by the

4. As a consequence of factor 2, the social weight and influence of
    the working class rises.

5. A combination of 3 and 4 lead to an increasing pressure to use
    non-capitalist modes of accumulation - raising the issues of
    social control of accumulation as live political issues.

This was the trajectory of first British and then other european
capitalisms up to the 1980s in the UK case and arguably up
to the present for other western european capitals.

Neo liberalism aims to get out of the contradictions by exploiting
the relative imaturity of capitalism in Asia, Latin America and
Africa to offset its maturity in Europe and North America.
This will work for a while, perhaps another 40 or 50 years,
but by the middle of the 21st century world capitalism will
be where British capitalism was at the middle of the 20th
century. The contradictions described above will then
seal its fate.

Paul Cockshott
Dept Computing Science
University of Glasgow

0141 330 3125

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