Re: [OPE-L] cockshott, Fw: [OPE-L] basics vs. non-basics and financial services

From: Paul Cockshott (wpc@DCS.GLA.AC.UK)
Date: Mon Oct 10 2005 - 05:59:49 EDT

>When you say that credit money cannot be accumulated it seems like if you
>thought again in a piling up of things. For me to accumulate is to avoid to
>spend some money into consumption goods and services in order to be able to
>reinvest the exceeding money in new means of production.
This is the abstinence theory for accumulation that was ridiculed by Marx in
vol 1 chap 24
"instead of eating them up, steam-engines, cotton, railways, manure, horses, and all; or as the vulgar economist childishly puts it, instead of dissipating "their value" in luxuries and other articles of consumption. [31] How the capitalists as a class are to perform that feat, is a secret that vulgar economy has hitherto obstinately refused to divulge."

Similarly it was critised by Keynes as 'the paradox of thrift'.

What you are foing is presenting the matter from the illusory standpoint
of the original capitalist.
What Marx points out is that accumulation is in the form of the means
of labour, it is the illusion of the individual capitalist that he
could potentially consume these or hold them as money. As an individual
he could, but as a class the matter is not so simple.
Accumulation requires the physical production of surplus means of
production to be used in the future. Mere abstinence and the attempt
to accumulate cash balances in the bank in order to carry out
future accumulation does not work.

If the capitalist class collectively cuts its expenditure on luxuries by
1000million this year aiming to build up cash reserves the immediate effect
is that capitalists in dept III see a fall in their realised profit by
an exactly equivalent amount, and the class as a whole achieves no accumulation.

But the main point, when you say:
You present two examples
A) Simple reproduction:

I        10c + 5v + 5s        =   20
II        8c + 4v + 4s         =   16
III       2c + 1v + 1s         =   4
Total    20c + 10v + 10s  =   40

B) Now, capitalists bring their servants to their factories and therefore
increase their factory workers in 1/10. They distribute the new workers
among the three departments and give to all the departments the means of
production that are needed for production. They "pay" all this by a
temporary renouncement to a part of their consumption. I say "Temporary"
because they will be able later to consume more than before whereas the
overall mass of workers consume the same as before. See table 2:

I        11.5c + 5.75v + 5.75s        =   23
II        8.4c + 4.2v + 4.2s             =   16.8
III       2.1c + 1.05v + 1.05s         =   4.2
Total    22c + 11v + 11s               =   44

The problem here is that you endow capitalists with the power of
magic. In period 1 the total output of means of production was 20c
by the miracle of abstinence they now find themselves in possession
of a total means of production of 22c to use up in the second period.

How can abstinence from consumption magic into existence two additional
units of means of production?

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