Re: [OPE-L] fully automated economy and capitalism

From: GERALD LEVY (gerald_a_levy@MSN.COM)
Date: Wed Nov 28 2007 - 09:14:39 EST

Hi Paul C: 
How are you defining 'profit' and the 'rate of profit' below?
If we take the  formula s/c+v  to be the rate of profit, in a 
fully automated economy v = 0 and this implies that s =
0 unless you think that c can create surplus value. 
I suppose one could define 'surplus' (NB: as distinct from 
'surplus value') in a different way,  such that it could exist in 
your fully automated society.  But, it would be difficult 
because in pre-capitalist (or post-capitalist) societies a surplus 
refers to an amount of the total product produced beyond the 
necessary reproductive requirements  of the direct producers.  
But,   there are no direct producers in a fully automated society 
unless you take the robots to be the 'producers'.   [If so, then 
the (non-labor) costs associated with maintaining and 
reproducing the robots could be seen as 'socially necessary' 
and a pre-requisite for the reproduction of the system.]
Who would be consuming the output, you ask? Well,
I guess that would be the human (or non-human) parasites 
who live off of the product produced by the robots, 
What any of this has to do with real economies is unclear
to me. I don't think such an abstract, ahistorical model  has 
*anything* meaningful to say about capitalism.
In solidarity, Jerry
I agree that without wage labour you could not speak of capitalism in the normal sense, but
That does not follow that all prices would be zero, since the firms might still be
Aiming to maximise profit.
More unclear would be who or what was consuming the output?
One could assume all was reinvested and the rate of profit would then the the rate of growth as analyzed by von Neumann

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