[OPE-L:1610] Do capitalists accumulate?

Alan Freeman (100042.617@compuserve.com)
Thu, 28 Mar 1996 11:28:45 -0800

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Paul (1580) questions whether the capitalists actually do accumulate.
But, when they stop accumulating, they stop being capitalists. They
may be driven to do this for short periods but if they do it for any prolonged
period, capitalism ceases to exist. Who is going to buy shares in
a shrinking company? Neither old nor young capitalists do that.
Capitalists who shrink their capital are quickly competed out of existence.
If capital in general were to shrink indefinitely, capitalism as a whole
would die.

The real empirical question to ask is: does the capital stock of the
nation rise secularly? The empirical evidence that it does so, is
overwhelming. This is interrupted only by crisis. Indeed, that is
what a crisis consists of. What Paul has indicated, is simply that
there are capitalist crises.

However, capitalist crises confirm the temporal paradigm.
My (and Marx's) argument establishes simply that if the capitalists accumulate,

the profit rate falls. The simultaneous paradigm produces the absurd
result that they can accumulate with a rising rate of profit. It is not a
refutation of the temporal approach to establish that if they stop
accumulating, the profit rate rises. On the contrary, it is a confirmation
of the temporal approach, which predicts that they must periodically
stop accumulating in order to restore profitability, and that this is why
there are periodic crises.