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

From: michael a. lebowitz (mlebowit@SFU.CA)
Date: Wed May 21 2003 - 12:44:52 EDT

At 15:17 20/05/2003 +0100, Paul Cockroft wrote:
>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
>    state.
>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.

         I'm not certain that I understand the reasoning here. If #1 is
occurring, then it does so by recreating the reserve army. And the impulse
to this is greater, the more the labour pool is static or falling. So, if
workers are displaced, if the resulting weakness (all other things equal)
of the working class means a rising rate of exploitation, how do you get to
#4 ( not to mention for that matter #2)? The argument might hold without
#1, but there was a section 2 to Vol. I, Ch25.
         in solidarity,
Michael A. Lebowitz
Professor Emeritus
Economics Department
Simon Fraser University
Burnaby, B.C., Canada V5A 1S6

Currently based in Cuba. Can be reached via:

Michael Lebowitz
Calle 13 No. 504 ent. D y E, Vedado, La Habana, Cuba
Codigo Postal 10 4000
(537) 33 30 75 or 832  21 54
telefax (at night): (537) 33 30 75

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