glevy@acnet.pratt.edu (glevy@acnet.pratt.edu)
Tue, 10 Oct 1995 18:46:06 -0700

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1) I'm going to concentrate on A3-E with the understanding that others
will discuss A1-2.
2) For all of the topics addressed below (and others raised by list
members): how is the theme of the two-fold nature of the commodity
(use value and value, including the value-form) connected to those
3) How does the dialectical relationship of production and circulation
manifest itself in subsequent topics? What is the role of the forms of
money in future topics?
4) No attempt is made below to articulate the meaning and implications of
questions or order the questions logically within each sub-division.

A. Capital:
1) capitalist production
2) capitalist circulation
3) capitalist production as a whole
* explain the specific manner in which the rising organic
composition manifests itself historically and is connected to the
"counteracting tendencies" to the LTGRPD.
* how does the turnover time of fixed capital affect the trade cycle?
* how does the process of moral depreciation affect the crisis?
* explain the periodicity of the business cycle;
* explain the causes of "long waves" and relationship to the
accumulation of capital, the turnover time of fixed capital, moral
depreciation, etc.
* explain the causes of the changing form of competition and the
implications of price competition and technological change not being
the dominant form of capitalist competition in late capitalism.
* explain the role of product differentiation and marketing in
terms of firm behavior.
* explain the changing relationship between the worker as consumer
and capital due to product differentiation, advertising, and
* what are the implications of industrial pricing schemes by
* how do expectations on the part of capitalists affect production,
distribution, and pricing decisions by firms?
* how do expectations affect consumer behavior?
* explain the factors affecting the diffusion period for new
process technologies.
* explain product innovation and the product cycle, including the
role of R&D.
* explain how internally-generated funds affect corporate financing.
* how does the presence of joint production affect firm behavior?
* what are the specific ways in which productivity can be (and has
been) increased?
* explain the persistence of small firms in many branches of
* how is the process of technological change modified by different
market structures?
* how does the prevelence of oligopolistic markets affect the
accumulation process?
* what is the role of aggregate demand in capitalist crises?
* what are the determinants of aggregate demand?
* how has flexible automation affected business behavior?
* specify the effects of computer technologies on firm employment,
deskilling, and the labor process.
* explain how the altering forms of credit and credit-money affect
the reproduction of capital and crises;
* explain the connection between different types of interest rates.
* explain theory and historical origins of inflation.
* how does the structure of the stock market and changing stock
prices affect the financial crisis?
* explain the changing structure of the banking industry.
* how does bank capital affect technological change, concentration,
and crises?
* how do expectations affect finance and the stock market.
* explain the role of pension funds on the stock market.
* explain the relationship, if there is one, between gold
production and inflation.
* explain the implications of electronic money for the finance
sector, firms, workers, and consumers.
* give a Marxist answer for the "breakdown" of the Phillips Curve
and stagflation.
* explain relationship of theories of rent and technological change.
* effect of changing location of supplier firms on inventory
control and profitability?
* causes and meaning of diseconomies of scale.
* explain management resistance to technological change.
* significance of conglomerate mergers?
* effects of organizational and managerial structure on firm behavior?
* repression of product innovations by corporations (e.g. electric car).
* account for barriers to entry, including those caused by product
* why "S curve" for diffusion of new technologies?

B. Landed Property:
* explain the significance of communal property (as in Marx's time
in Russia).
* explain peasant differentiation and how capital affects this
* why do small farmers continue to persist in many advanced
capitalist nations?
* how was capitalism shaped by pre-capitalist forms of landed property?
* explain how scientific advances have unevenly affected
agricultural productivity.
* environmental impact of land development?
* relation of capitalist landed property to rural poverty.
* environmental affects of land colonization.

C. Wage-Labour
* explain the different factors (and their significance) that
affect the reproduction of labour-power.
* what are the factors that determine the wages of skilled workers?
* how has the growth in productivity affected wages?
* how has the growth of trade unions and bargaining power affected
wages, working conditions, etc.? Limitations?
* how has the growth of trade union consciousness and class
consciousness affected the labor process, working conditions, wages,
benefits, etc.?
* how has the process of increasing needs affected wages?
* how has the process of increasing needs affected workers as
consumers? How are those needs created and modified?
* explain how discrimination and segmented labor markets have
affected wages and wage disparities.
* what is the relationship between increasing inflation and
increasing nominal wages?
* explain the causes for the changing nature of the working class.
* explain the role of profit-sharing plans in capital-labor relations.
* explain the role of producer and consumer cooperatives.
* leisure time and domestic labor.

D. The State
* explain the specific nature of public finance under late capitalism.
* causes of the fiscal crisis?
* relation of central state to urban and regional development and
fiscal crisis for cities and regions?
* economic roles of war and nationalism?
* role of state in affecting expectations by firms and consumers?
* limits to fiscal and monetary policy? (specify).
* relationship of discount rate to other types of interest rates?
* how can state modify inflation? ...stagflation? ... crises?
* what is the role of the political (non-economic) component in
state macro and micro policies?
* what is the role of the "underground economy" and petty-commodity
production? How is that role affected by the state?
* what are the limitations of macro planning by the state?
* micro regulations -- limitations? Role of externalities?
* affect of popular movements and bourgeois democracy on state
economic policies? Is dictatorship more efficient in the sense
that it shortens the time required for state responses to crisis?
* what are the factors that determine the productivity of state
* what are the areas in which the self-interest of political
leaders can interfere with the interests of capital?
* determinants of the "social wage."
* affect of corporate subsidies on accumulation?
* limits of democratic control of the capitalist economy?
* internalities in state enterprises.
* land reform: limitations/consequences?
* economic consequences of state bureaucracy.

E. International Trade
* how does the state modify the process of trade?
* free trade vs. protectionism
* role of state in advancing non-tariff barriers to trade.
* comparative advantage and absolute advantage
* how does trade affect inflation? ... stagflation? ... crisis?
* "guest workers" and immigration.
* international money?
* non-traded and intermediate goods and the theory of trade.
* state trading monopolies -- implications?

F. World Market and Crises
* changing international division of labor.
* TNCs -- implications?
* explain locational strategies of TNCs.
* cartels: effectiveness and limitations?
* explain international transfer of technologies by TNCs
* imperialism: last stage, latest stage, past stage?
* relation of capitalist rivalry and nation states to prospects for
state capitalism.
* exchange rate determination.
* unequal exchange?
* impact on skilled labor and wages for skilled workers?
* labor aristocracy? Effect of imperialism on wages in advanced
capitalist nations?
* persistence of non-capitalist enclaves.
* regional trade associations ("customs unions").
* currency devaluation as a crisis strategy.
* significance of trade in military weapons.
* uncertainty, expectations, and speculation on foreign exchange
* relation between national states and international financial
institutions (e.g. IMF, World Bank).
* causes of changing mortality and fertility levels.
* evaluation of population and family-planning policies.
* capitalist expansion and environmental quality.

G. Other
* roles of family, religion, psychology, nationalism, the mass
media, educational institutions, race, gender, etc. in the economic
behavior of firms, the state, workers, and consumers.
* rationality and irrationality by firms, the state, workers, consumers.
* affect of increasing needs on class consciousness and
self-organization by workers?

In OPE-L solidarity,
[that's my short list]