[OPE] "Parasitism"

From: Jurriaan Bendien <adsl675281@tiscali.nl>
Date: Sat Jan 24 2009 - 07:25:08 EST


I think you actually substitute swearwords for economic analysis; you rarely ever respond to my objection, but typically start to talk about something else. Well, sticks and stones. Paula tries to agree with both of us, which indicates to me she doesn't understand much yet about the topic in hand, because my position and Marx's are diametrically opposed to Jerry's. You cannot have me and Jerry at the same time, without becoming incoherent.

Marx does not say the capitalist is ex definitione a parasite. He treats the capitalist as the personification of capital, but also says that capital can take many different forms, meaning that the capitalist can play a productive economic role or a purely passive one - and this is critical for the path of capitalist development. Marx aims to prove that the capitalist is by definition an "exploiter", to the extent that he claims part of the value of other's labor without compensation, solely by virtue of his ownership of property (the "Mehrarbeit" or surplus labour in its qualitative and quantitative aspects).

For Jerry Levy and vulgar Marxism, the difference between parasitism and exploitation is only a "semantic" difference between words; and even if the capitalist plays a productive role, he is still a parasite. But that is a moralistic leftist theory, not Marx's idea. In that case Marx would never have had anything to do with Friedrich Engels.

Chapter 36 of Cap. Vol. 3 by Marx for example is devoted precisely to explaining the historical origin and further evolution of the relationship between financial parasitism and labor-exploitation, with reference to the relationship between usurer's capital and the owners of means of production. The subtlety in this analysis - invisible to the vulgar Marxists, but not to businessmen - is that you can both get something for nothing in trading things, and get something for nothing in producing things (obviously vulgar Marxists cannot solve the transformation problem, for that very reason).

According to Marx, it is historically precisely the "violent struggle" against usury restricting the scope of production - a struggle which aims to lower the cost of borrowed capital (principally, the interest rate) to the direct producers - which gives birth to the modern credit system (this is a completely different story from Niall Ferguson's sexed-up book "The Ascent of Money" to which the vulgar Marxists have no reply, because all they can say is "C, V and S"). The whole meaning of this intercapitalist and labor struggle is lost on Jerry, who just substitutes his own poetry. Point is, it is not even illuminating poetry in this case.

According to Niall Ferguson, the money-lender is in the vanguard of economic progress, while for Jerry Levy, he is "just another capitalist parasite". Marxian analysis only begins when you go beyond such moralizing caricatures.


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Received on Sat Jan 24 07:33:23 2009

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