[OPE-L:1647] Re: Do capitalists accumulate?

Paul Zarembka (ecopaulz@ubvms.cc.buffalo.edu)
Sat, 30 Mar 1996 19:21:43 -0800

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On Sat, 30 Mar 1996, Allin Cottrell wrote:

> > Allin, What is your defintion of "accumulation of capital"? This term is
> > so loosely used as to become almost meaningless, in my view. Paul
> As I understand it, this phrase has a broad and a narrow meaning. The
> broad meaning is, roughly, the expanded reproduction of capitalist
> relations of production. The narrow meaning is, or includes, an
> increase in the stock of means of production, measured not in 'constant-
> price' quantity terms, but in terms of the labour-time they embody.
> The latter meaning was the relevant one in the context of the posting
> to which you refer.

In my interpretation, the emphasis of accumulation of capital should not
be on the increase in the labor-time embodied in means of production
(which actually is not that far away from the neoclassical use of
"accumulation of capital"). The emphasis should rather be on increase in
the number of labor hours of living labor--for the heart of capitalism is
exploitation and so the heart of accumulation is increase in the
exploited labor time. Increased labor time in means of production goes
along with that increased labor time (more plants are built to employ the
greater number of work hours).

Thus, I don't think I have a problem with your broader interpretation,
but do with the narrower one.

By the way, there are rather major implications of the interpretation I am
suggesting, but we'll wait and see how discussion on this develops.

Paul Z.