[OPE-L:1931] Re: Accumulation of capital and Imperialism

Allin Cottrell (cottrell@wfu.edu)
Wed, 24 Apr 1996 08:10:39 -0700

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Paul Z quotes Paul C, who indicated that he did not accept that
"accumulation of capital is a necessity of the capitalist mode of
production", and asks:

> Could you elaborate? Capitalists have no "Moses and the prophets"? The
> "Conversion of Surplus Value into Capital" is just a "possible scenario"?
> Would you say that "exploitation" is a necessity of capitalism or not?
> What are productiion of absolute and relative surplus value?

Since I think I agree with Paul C on this, here is a brief elaboration.
Yes, exploitation is essential to capitalism, but it is not guaranteed
that the fruits of exploitation will be accumulated. Capitalism can
subside into (perhaps lengthy) phases in which no net accumulation
occurs. We may think of such phases as in a sense degenerative, but
absence of net accumulation is not incompatible with technical
progress (the use-value of the means of production is augmented, but
not the value).

Allin Cottrell
Department of Economics
Wake Forest University