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 - 02:45:41 EST

In einer eMail vom 28.11.2006 03:38:24 Westeuropäische Normalzeit schreibt  

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.
What is your response to what you describe? Is it really as value neutral  as 
you describe or there are some normative aspects in this, which we can use to 
 evaluate whether it is really rational how these entrepreuners accumulate 
their  individual capitals? As a reply to this question Adam Smith does not look 
at  what is necessary from an individual entrepreneur's point of view. Rather 
he  prefers to look at it from general interets of sicety's point of view:  
satisfaction of the needs of people and progress.  


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