Re: (OPE-L) Re: Rising organic composition

From: Paul Cockshott (wpc@DCS.GLA.AC.UK)
Date: Fri May 30 2003 - 09:58:05 EDT

gerald_a_levy wrote:

> Paul C wrote on  Friday, May 30:
> > I dont claim any expertise on demographics, but it is fairly evident
> > that once a country becomes fully industrialised the birth rate falls
> > dramatically.
> > Reasons for this will be many, the dissolution of patriarchal economic
> > relations and the participation of women in the labour market, the
> > availability of contraception on a general basis, the replacement
> > of filial piety by state pensions and mutual funds. Whatever the
> > detailed causes, the fact remains that a couple of generations after
> > industrialisation capitalist countries seem dependent on immigration
> > to ensure population growth.
> With the possible exception of increasing participation of women in
> the labour market, there is no reason to think that any of the above
> developments are *necessary* consequences of the development of
> capitalism.  So, if your explanation for population change ultimately
> rests on accidental or historically contingent reasons, then your
> explanation for why the OCC rises and the rate of profit will fall
> also becomes subject to historical accident and contingency.  Since
> you also, on May 20, refer to how this contradiction will "seal its fate",
> your explanation implies that whether the fate of capitalism will be
> "sealed" depends on whether the contingencies that you have suggested
> re population change actually develop as you anticipate.

1. Demographic transition or conversion is a well attested empirical
     phenomenon.  What contrary instances can you come up with.

2. My explanation of it is certainly not complete, but all of the features
    that I mention are common place attributes of capitalist development.
    What does it mean to say that they are not *necessary* consequences,
    other than that we have not yet come up with an understanding of
    the causal process generating them. This reflects our ignorance
    more than anything else.

> In solidarity, Jerry

Paul Cockshott
Dept Computing Science
University of Glasgow

0141 330 3125

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