Re: [OPE-L] basics vs. non-basics

From: Paul Cockshott (wpc@DCS.GLA.AC.UK)
Date: Wed Sep 21 2005 - 04:13:03 EDT

Philip Dunn wrote:
> Quoting Paul Cockshott <wpc@DCS.GLA.AC.UK>:
>>If there is no physical net product, then no rational capitalists
>>would engage in production, since they would be better off to
>>just hold onto stocks and sell them speculatively.
>>Without a physical net product, the act of 'production'
>>is an act of destruction.
> Suppose we have an all agricultural economy and there are bad harvests, so bad
> that the physical net product is all negative.  This is not rationally
> predictable, so there is no reason not to engage in production.  The following
> year the harvests could be good and the economy could recover.
> Philip Dunn
What you have then is a famine, and the reproduction of the
population is seriously in question. A large part will die off
in the absence of relief supplies comming in. Prices are
then driven by speculation rather than costs of production and
the theory of value ceases to to have any relevance to describing
what happens.

One sees initial attempts by the rural population to
enforce traditional prices by collective action, followed by defeat
in the face of hoarding by speculators, followed by a
struggle of each against all. Degenerating into banditry
and cannibalism. Eventually the weakened population becomes prey
to wild beasts as the human domination of the environment fails.
This is brought out very clearly in Mike Davis's book on
Mid Victorian Holocausts.

I dont see that such sickening cataclysms can be seriously adduced as evidence
for reproduction with a negative physical product.

Paul Cockshott
Dept Computing Science
University of Glasgow

0141 330 3125

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