Re: [OPE-L] SV: [OPE-L] what is irrational in the functioning of capitalism?

From: Nicola Taylor (nmtayl@YAHOO.COM.AU)
Date: Mon Nov 27 2006 - 21:37:56 EST

Goecmen wrote:

"The aim of capitalism is to produce as many wage
labourers as possible and put them on employment to

Martin replied:

"The aim of the capitalist entrepreneur, I believe, is
accumulation of capital. Through this tendency, more
areas of human society has historically been subsumed
in a wagelabour relation over time. Ricardo was one
who made the accumulation of capital modus very
explicit in his Principles. I don't see that the ratio
of wage labourers-population is really as important

I agree with Martin that the individual entrepreneur
is concerned only with capital accumulation - or from
his/her perspective, making money returns that exceed
costs.  I also agree with Martin that the capitalist's
concern is rational in that 'money profit' is
necessary for the successful reproduction of the firm
in a capitalist system.  Now, to see how capitalist
rationality fosters a reserve army of the unemployed
one could consider, for example, the Nike Corporation.
 Desperate workers in Indonesia consitute a huge
reserve army of the unemployed, from whom Nike can
pick and choose wage labourers.  In Indonesia, those
'lucky' enough to get a job are willing to work very
long hours in appalling conditions for very low wages.
 Nike workers, however, are not the buyers of the
product, which is primarily sold in high-wage
countries (where employment is also relatively
higher).  Further, in high-wage countries the Nike
corporation uses advertising techniques to increase
demand (hence prices) for their products. These
efforts to keep wages low and prices high have a
further effect in that Nike shares may be seen by
speculators as a worthwhile punt. The result is that
Nike successfully reproduces (and partially finances)

For the individual capitalist/corporation, then, wage
labour is merely a means to an overriding end (capital
accumulation).  If we accept this end as rational *in
so far* as it is necessary for capitalist
reproduction, then the incomplete subsumption of
labour under a wage system is also rational *to the
extent* that it assists firms to increase monetary
returns and reproduce themselves.


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