Re: [OPE-L] Fred's argument about the deduction (retro)

From: Gerald Levy (glevy@LAGCC.CUNY.EDU)
Date: Mon Jan 14 2008 - 14:24:45 EST

Hi Michael P:

> From the standpoint of the capitalists, they are
> interested in profits, not surplus value.  If the surplus at their disposal is not
> used productively, profits will fall, creating problems for the capitalists.

Individual capitalists know that if they don't have some amount of 
unproductive expenditures then their _individual_ rates of profit will 
_fall_.  That is, they know that if they don't allocate some funds for the
hiring of unproductive labor, then they will be at a competitive 
disadvantage.  Of course, they don't look at these expenses as 
unproductive, they view them simply as costs of production and 
as such they have an incentive to reduce what they might see
as 'unnecessary' costs but they still know that for competitive
(and legal) reasons some of these expenditures are necessary.

It is a different matter for capital as a whole.  From an aggregate
perspective, any unproductive expenditures of surplus value
will limit the possible maximum rate of accumulation. 

Hence there is a micro/macro distinction to be made here:
what is the case in the former can not be assumed to be the case 
in the latter and vice versa.

But, is not that simple either because of international 
competition and trade.  So, unproductive uses of surplus value
what might benefit an individual economy and capitalists 
from that economy at the expense of the international economy
and international capitalist economy as a whole.

Whether capitalists benefit from the unproductive uses of
surplus value by the state also has to be looked at from the
perspective of the capitalist class as a whole _and_ different
segments of that class ... _and_ that needs to be contextualized 
in terms of the international economy and the 'international
affairs' of individual nation states.

These are real conflicts.  We need to understand the processes 
in their complexity and not fall into the fallacies of composition
or division.

In  solidarity, Jerry

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