[OPE-L:1940] Re: Accumulation of capital and Imperialism

Gilbert Skillman (gskillman@wesleyan.edu)
Wed, 24 Apr 1996 12:11:29 -0700

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Paul Z. writes:

> 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).

For what it's worth, I don't read Paul C. as denying that capitalists
"want to achieve more surplus value", but that in fact they may not
achieve it, particularly in the form of relative surplus value, in
any given period--i.e., a reading consistent with Marx, as well as
with your parenthetical comment above.

> 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.

Yes, exactly. That's how we know we're under the CMP.

In solidarity, Gil