[OPE-L:1937] Re: Accumulation of capital and Imperialism

Paul Zarembka (ecopaulz@ubvms.cc.buffalo.edu)
Wed, 24 Apr 1996 09:41:10 -0700

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On Wed, 24 Apr 1996, Paul Cockshott wrote:

> Conversion of surplus value into capital is just a possible, albeit
> frequent scenario, even given the defintion I would use of an increase
> in the total of K + vt. Given your definition - an increase in (s+v)
> - accumulation is certainly not necessary. Capitalist societies can be
> net consumers of surplus value and remain capitalist. An example,
> contrary to common opinion was Britain during its imperial period.

Paul C., let me set aside the above, but the below is even more
troublesome to me.

> Production of absolute surplus value is a necessary precondition
> of capitalism. Relative surplus value is frequently produced, but
> is not a necessity.

When Marx writes about production of absolute or relative surplus value
he means the class STRUGGLE by capital to extract more surplus value
from the working class. Are you asserting that capital MAY or MAY
NOT want to achieve more surplus value (whether they achieve it or not is a
separate question of answered mainly by the working class)? If so, I
would think you are completely departing from Marx (which of course is your
right to do so).

Also, production of absolute surplus value is NOT a simply a "precondition"
for the CMP. It actually happens. Now. To workers right now as we write.
To workers at the food supermarket are supposed to get 1/2 hour for lunch
and are told after 12 minutes so get back shelving food. In happened on May
Day 1886 when capital killed the movement for a eight-hour working day.

Paul Z.