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

From: GERALD LEVY (gerald_a_levy@MSN.COM)
Date: Mon Dec 03 2007 - 08:29:21 EST

That is a very easy point to grasp. Sraffa's analysis of capitalism holds for w (wages) greater than 0. However, we may step outside capitalism to look at what holds when w=0, just as when studying physical motion, we may step outside the motion of bodies  subject to friction on inclined planes by looking, as Galileo did, at the case where friction = 0. That too, is a not so simple but still relatively easy point, I think,
Hi Ian:
Examining the case where friction equals zero is 
perfectly valid because their can be settings
(including a vacuum) where it exists.  It is not 
merely an empty abstraction completely removed from 
an analysis of the real subject matter.  
Stepping outside capitalism is legitimate, of course,
if you want to develop a trans-historical theory 
that can be applied to analyze non-capitalist modes
of production (real or imagined; on Earth or elsewhere
in the Universe).  If that is the case, then go ahead
and assume that w = 0.  If it is intended 
to be part of a  (Marxian or non-Marxian)  analysis of 
capitalism, then there are insurmountable obstacles.
For instance, under capitalism, what is the intensity of 
labor consistent with the assumption of V = 0?  What 
are the implications of the length of the working day if 
V = 0?  If  "wage-workers  live on air" why would they 
work at all?   Wouldn't they be better off being
part of the industrial reserve army? Unless there was a 
severe labor shortage, why would "capitalists"  seek to 
increase relative surplus value through technological  
change?  Questions like this arise because the 
limit case is outside of the legitimate parameters of 
the subject matter.
In solidarity, Jerry

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