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

From: Dogan Goecmen (Dogangoecmen@AOL.COM)
Date: Tue Nov 28 2006 - 02:28:45 EST

In einer eMail vom 27.11.2006 22:01:39 Westeuropäische Normalzeit schreibt  

Goecmen wrote:
"The aim of capitalism is to produce as many wage labourers as  possible and 
put them on employment to exploit."
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  though.

Martin, agreed. This what I mean as well. To accumulate capital requires to  
put as many wage labourers as possible on emploment, because they are the 
spring  of the accumulation of capital. The "ratio of wage labourers-population" 
is very  important because it determines how much an entrepreneur accumulates. 
For an  entrepreneur this can even be very existential because it determines 
its  position (power) to other competing entrepreneurs. From an entrepreneurs 
point  of view it does not matter whether there is unemployment. For an individu
al  entrepreneur it is important that the capacity of production fully in  

I think that what one believes to be "dysfunctional" to  capitalism depends 
on what ideals you have; the individual capitalist cannot  employ more 
labourers than what is profitable. In every day discourse, it is  tuff luck for those 
who remain outside the pool of employed. Few see this as  dysfuncitonal, 
rather economists regard it as a natural aspect of  everyday market economy life.

No, I do not think so. It has nothing to do with ideals. Rather it has to  do 
with inner logic of capital. To answer the challenge you put here I would ask 
 you to answer my question about what the aim of production is. Is the aim of 
 production to make profit or is it meant to satisfy human needs? There is no 
one  single class of economists. And I find those economists who regard  
unemployment "as a natural aspect of everyday market economy life" in its  
normative sense very cynical. What is your position on this?

One political system which recently collapsed was the  USSR. CJ Arthur has 
made a very challenging claim when he  metaphorically wrote that the USSR was a 
"selfaborting monstrosity", he  even tell us that it was not a mode of 
production. Had this been the  case, he writes, the system would have been able to 
reproduce  itself. This is what a stable mode of productions does. Here we  see 
a clear case of "dysfunctionality" in action, and one aspect of  this was the 
full employment of labour aspect.

Full employment was not the reason why the system in USSR collapsed. It is  
more complex than you seem to imply.

We can thus learn something about capitalism here  I believe; for one, it is 
obviously much more functional than people give  it credit. I think CJ Arthur 
mentions "the spring", the motor so to  speak, when he differentiated western 
capitalism from the USSR. I personally  believe that what we see in this 
debate is two sides of the same coin, an  aspect of capitalism which might be 
dysfunctional in one way is also  functional, the capitalist system creates effects 
and we evaluate these in  contradictory ways, because they are contradictory.

How do you think about this contradiction? Is it rational compared to the  
aims of production? Is it rational compared to the interests of society. Is it  
just a matter of the view one happens to take or are able to make a more  
objective evaluation.

I might have misunderstood something here though, I am not  sure.
 Från: OPE-L genom Dogan  Goecmen
Skickat: må 2006-11-27 21:13
Ämne: Re: [OPE-L] what is irrational in the  functioning of capitalism?

"But the point is really this  -  even if we note such things as masses of
people starving while  there is enough to eat for all, this does not
necessarily make capitalism  irrational. We can say at this point at most
that the pursuit of commercial  rationality has undesirable results." 
But these "undesirable results" are  foreseeable, because markets do not 
allocate goods according to the needs.  They allocate goods to those who can 
afford to buy them. As a  result capitalists destroy thousands and thousands of 
foods. In other words,  they produce to sell but they destroy what they produce 
and cannot sell. Is  this not dysfunctional to capitalism?
"A social system becomes irrational  only when its functioning becomes 
dysfunctional to
itself, i.e. it is in  reality unable to reproduce itself anymore. Obviously
if people starve,  this may in the given case make the system dysfunctional
to itself, insofar  as it can no longer reproduce itself. But it may also be
the case, that the  system continues to function quite well, even although
masses of people  starve."

I am not sure whether I would agree  with what you say here. But then even if 
I accept your thesis I would say that  capitalism is dysfunctional to itself. 
Why? The aim of capitalism is to  produce as many wage labourers as possible 
and put them on employment to  exploit. This is the very rerason of the 
existence of capital. But according  to the figures of ILO half of the work force of 
the world is unemployd. That  is to say that though capital wants to exploit 
them it cannot because it  excludes these people from any form of wage labour. 
Is this not dysfunctional  to capitalism?

Warm regards

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