[OPE-L:276] Iwao's brain in storm

Iwao Kitamura (ikita@st.rim.or.jp)
Tue, 17 Oct 1995 08:54:03 -0700

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1. My concern
I'd like to begin with my own concern with which I joined this project.
My colleagues here in Japan (inc. me) have been arguing that the present
advanced capitalist countries are all in the stage of state monopolistic
capitalism that is called as the 'welfare state regime' in bourgeois literatures.
We also recognized that this regime derives from capitalist way of solution
of the great depression and necessity of the ruling class to counter to
'existing socialism' historically.
But since the collapse of bretton woods regime of international currency
market and the 'oil crisis', the situation has gradually changed. At that time,
world capitalism was really in a 'hard time' while we enjoyed the daily growing
class struggle world wide. We hoped this would be a final phase of capitalism.
Using a phrase 'stagflation' was very common among us to describe the situation
of capitalism at the time.
Then capitalist strategies seem to have changed from the 'welfare state'.
My concern is here whether world capitalism turns into a new stage or merely
a reactionry sphere. Or whether world capitalism would represent a relative
stable period. Answer to this inquirement could contribute to build a concrete
revolutionary strategy.

2. Methodological problem
As I suggested before and Alan pointed in his recent post, I prefer to start
the project from concentrated discussions of priciple issues, however my own
concern lies in the stage problems. If most of list members concern applying
'extended Marx' to analyse the present capitalism, I would agreed to proceed
the project toward discussing stage level problems AFTER we have examined priciple
ones. I _imagine_ examining priciple issues could really extend Das Kapital.
What are principles? They are underlying matters that penetrate all stages
of capitalism. We need not discuss them in formalist style but both 'logically
and historically'. So they would appear at various levels of abstraction.
As I wrote before, I still believe that 6 books plan was wholly at principle
level. It tells us that specific theories are necessary when we argue issues
besides capital in general even at principle level. I think, for example, we
cannot avoid criticizing the rational expectations theory as well as the modern
portfolio theory when arguing credit and stock capital as specific topics.

3. Listing of problems
To respond to Jerry's request, I write down what I _feel_ problematic.
For my laziness, it is still unclear for me how to handle those. Some of them are
not principle matters, probably.
<listed in 6 books classification>
a) what's money (in principle)?
- should we still use the hypothesis Marx employed in Capital
that "gold is the money commodity" (Vol 1, chapter 3) ?
- does 'inconvertible currency' represent as the fifth form of
b) what's anarchic character of capitalist production?
- transformations of growing instability
c) transfer of value from constant capital
- flexibility of moral depreciation
d) about accumulation of knowledge
a) competition
b) the roll of stock capital
- coporate governance? what's a collective private property?
- represented profit in stock market ( and in markets of other fictitious
- expectations (speculations)
(2) (capitalist) land property
a) is land property specific among private properties of nature resources?
(3) wage labour
a) is strengthness of labor absolute or relative?
b) credit to workers
(4) state
a) its roll of increase in public debt
b) its roll of organizing markets
c) nation states and capitalism
(5) international trade
a) does international trade absorb particular crisis?
(6) world market
a) is integration of world market inevitable?
b) TNC's

4. procedural question of ope-l
I'm for Alfred's proposal picking points and forming groups. But I'm afraid that
Alfred's two points< (1) the concepts of abstract labour, value and money and
(2) the concepts of value of labour power and wage> might be too broad.
Could we pick up several more concrete inquirements?
Jerry proposed sub-groups as fourth stepin [ope-l:208]. I'd like to hear voices
of all list members what sub-group he/she would participate. For me, credit, stock
capital or fictitious capital would be fine. How about 3 months time limit for sub-group
discussion, november to january more concretely.

5. recruitement
I'm happy with the present variety of nationalities (6?) of list members, though
It's disappointing that no woman appears on this list and no one from non-imperialist
Regarding availability of this net, I think it not so difficult to invite someone
from Germany and France. wrong?

in OPE-L solidarity.

P.S. Japan places in imperialist north but also in 'Asia'.

Iwao Kitamura
a member of theoretical study group
Socialist Association (Japan)
E-mail : ikita@st.rim.or.jp
personal web: http://www.st.rim.or.jp/~ikita/