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

From: Paul Cockshott (wpc@DCS.GLA.AC.UK)
Date: Thu May 22 2003 - 05:02:30 EDT

"michael a. lebowitz" wrote:

>  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.

This is a serious misconception.

Organic compisition rises if the rate of accumulation of capital is
greater than the rate of growth of the employed population of wage labourers.
This is compatible both with a shrinking employed population
or a rising employed population .

The rest of your argument depends on this point.

> 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,
>   mike---------------------Michael A. LebowitzProfessor EmeritusEconomics DepartmentSimon Fraser UniversityBurnaby, B.C., Canada V5A 1S6Currently
> based in Cuba. Can be reached via:Michael Lebowitzc/o MEPLACalle 13 No. 504 ent. D y E, Vedado, La Habana, CubaCodigo Postal 10 4000(537) 33 30 75
> or 832  21 54telefax (at night): (537) 33 30 75

Paul Cockshott
Dept Computing Science
University of Glasgow

0141 330 3125

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