[OPE] Services (->Paula)

From: Jurriaan Bendien <adsl675281@telfort.nl>
Date: Wed Jan 07 2009 - 08:52:37 EST

Dave Z.,

If I have wrongly labelled your position, I apologise. However, your interpretation like Paul C.'s is clearly "neo-Smithian".

What I am arguing is that for Marx the concept of productive labour in capitalist society has nothing directly to do with economic growth,
but rather with the role of labour in capital accumulation, and consequently with how the division of labour is reorganised for the purpose
of capital accumulation.

In Marx's theory, as I have often emphasized, "capital accumulation" is not the same thing as economic growth, since capital can be privately
accumulated either through net additions to the total stock, or through a redistribution of that stock. Indeed, in exceptional cases,
output growth can reduce absolutely, although the rate of capital accumulation increases, at the expense of some social classes. So
"production of output" and "accumulation of capital" are not the same thing for Marx, although the former is conditional on the latter.

According to you, economic growth refers to "1. the growth of output (flow) 2. the growth of wealth (stock)" but I argue this must be wrong, because
both can be accounted for as a flow of incomes and expenditures, or as a stock value of assets and liabilities, or as a relationship between
inputs and outputs.

I think you may be confusing Marx with Smith and conventional "factor theory" in macroeconomics again.

In Marx's theory, "economic growth" refers to the process of "expanded reproduction", which encompasses production, distribution, circulation and
consumption. This process is not vague at all, and Marx describes it in detail.

The real "difficulty" is that what is necessary for the expanded reproduction of capital may not be the same as
what is necessary for the expanded reproduction of a society or economic community. The reason for that is, that capital accumulation does not
necessarily require or presuppose that more is consumed and more is produced. Its circuit may be as simple as M-M'.

A clear example of this is the current food crisis: the regime of capital accumulation is unable to guarantee that a "basic good" like food is
produced and distributed in sufficient amounts so that human needs are met. In that sense, it's literally "profits before people".

I will explain all this in more detail in my paper. In neo-Smithian Marxism, the allocation of capital is criticized, because it deviates
from the Smithian optimum. But in Marx's own view, the attempt to reconcile the accumulation of capital and the expanded reproduction
of society is a highly contradictory, conflict-ridden process every step of the way, i.e. there is no "mechanism" which can ensure that
what is rational from the point of view of the individual is also rational from the social point of view. Thus, this is a process in
which opposing forces must be constantly mediated.

I am not especially impressed by all sorts of mathematical wizardry because I have worked professionally in survey design and so
I know that poor concepts and categories often lead to data manipulations which really assume what needs to be proved.

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Received on Wed Jan 7 08:54:17 2009

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