Re: [OPE-L] accumulation of capital and the working class

From: Paul Zarembka (zarembka@BUFFALO.EDU)
Date: Wed Jan 09 2008 - 08:30:27 EST

Jerry, my interest is definitely more long-term than short.  And I'm
considering total new value produced by living labor, s+v.  I could be
interested in 'production of absolute surplus value', thereby.

The key is the drive of capitalists for more value of which 'accumulation
of capital' is one of the major means.  Paul

--On 1/9/2008 4:41 AM +0100 GERALD LEVY wrote:

> Hi Paul Z:
> No, not a full stop.  I had hoped that you would figure out
> what I was trying to get at, but since you haven't, I'll
> tell you: I  was thinking of a (relatively short-term)
> reduction of wages below their value.
> If there is a reduction of wages below their value then
> there is the possibility that a decreased amount of V
> could be able to be used for wage payments to the
> same quantity of wage workers (or even more, if the
> reduction of wages below their value was sharp enough).
> So, if V went down, let's say by a small amount, and C
> went up by a small amount (and the total of C+V goes up)
> then this could be associated with a quantity of employed
> wage-workers which could stay the same or perhaps even
> go up marginally. Thus, less V could mean more wage-workers
> (even assuming the length of the working day et al
> remains constant).
> This possibility (which Marx says is "one of the most
> important factors in stemming the tendency for the rate of
> profit to fall") would not be recognized if the focus on
> accumulation was only as a long-run historical process.
> The very real possibility that commodities (including labour-
> power) can be sold at a price below their value is
> recognized if one looks at more discrete time periods.
> The other reason for this possibility is that there is not a
> fixed relation between the quantity of V and the quantity
> of wage-workers.
> Grasping the long-run trajectory of capital accumulation
> is important, of course. It is also important to grasp
> how the accumulation of capital can manifest itself
> differently in shorter periods of time as a way of
> comprehending conjunctural developments and the
> impact of that on the working class. It is important
> not to fall into the fallacy of believing that what is true
> when one looks at the long sweep of capitalist history
> is also true for all periods (and places). The possibility of
> temporal (and spatial) variations must be kept in mind.
> In solidarity, Jerry
>> > One can envision a (real) possibility where the size of V
>> > goes _down_ even as the size of C increases (and the
>> > total magnitude of C+V increases) where the size of the
>> > working class does _not_ go down. Have you considered
>> > this possibility?

(Vol.23) THE HIDDEN HISTORY OF 9-11-2001  --  U.S. softcover forthcoming
           video summary from Snowshoe Films at

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