[OPE-L:1645] Re: Do bears accumulate in the woods?

Paul Zarembka (ecopaulz@ubvms.cc.buffalo.edu)
Sat, 30 Mar 1996 14:50:49 -0800

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On Thu, 28 Mar 1996, Alan Freeman wrote:

> I think this is a tortuous, roundabout, upside-down and ultimately
> wrong way of getting at what is going on. I think we should cut the
> Gordian knot. Accumulation is not the accumulation of use-values but
> of exchange-value, that is, money prices. This is what determines the
> physical behaviour, not the other way around. Let us start by studying
> the money, and then try to understand how the use-value aspect of
> production is thus constrained and ultimately determined. This, I
> think, is 'Marx's method'.
> I think that, in common with every banker, every accountant, and
> everyone who can do arithmetic, Marx understood accumulation to mean
> the accumulation of exchange value, that is, accumulation in money
> terms, with the only proviso that money as the expression of value
> must be corrected for inflation (hence the importance of the much-
> maligned 'value of money'). In money terms, if the capitalists invest,
> then their advanced capital must grow. If you put money in the bank,
> your bank balance grows, no? If you use this same money to buy assets,
> this raises your gross worth, no? And if you exhaust these assets
> slower than you add to them, your gross worth will rise over time, no?
> This is what is 'obvious'.

Alan, how does this definition of accumulation of capital jive with
Marx's summary statement (I, Chap. 25) "Accumulation of capital is,
therefore, increase of the proletariat" or "accumulation, reproduces the
capital-relation on a progressive scale, more capitalists or larger
capitalists at this pole, more wage-laborers at that" (slightly earlier
in the introduction to the chapter on the "The General Law of Capitalist
Accumulation"? Your statement and his do not seem to me to amount to the
same thing.

Paul Z.