[OPE-L:2956] Re: sunspots

Paul Cockshott (wpc@cs.strath.ac.uk)
Wed, 4 Sep 1996 05:54:38 -0700 (PDT)

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>Notwithstanding the dialectic between humans and nature, there is no
>reason to suppose that there is a cause-and-effect relation between
>sunspots and agricultural production and business cycle variations in
>capitalist economies. *Even if* it can be shown empirically that the two
>factors seem to occur at the same time and resemble a cyclical pattern
>and relationship, one would still have to develop a reasonable scientific
>hypothesis that would explain this (alleged) relationship.
>In OPE-L Solidarity,
It is not hard to hypothesise such a mechanism. Please note that
this is intended to be hypothetical.

The relationship between sunspots and pre-capitalist economies is well
established. The Maunder minimum in the sunspot cycle coincided I think with
a marked climatic cooling, southward penetration of the Greenland
pack ice, failure of the Greenland colonies, privation in Icelandic
agriculture and the ending of the southern English wine industry.

Although sunspots are cooler than the surrounding surface of the sun
the intensity of solar radiation is measurably higher during sunspot

One would therefore expect that within the 11 year cycle, the sunspot
minima would be associated with poorer agricultural production and
higher agricultural prices. In a capitalist economy this would entail:

a. A reduction in relative surplus value, due to the rise in necessary
labour time.

b. A shift in the division of surplus value between profit and rent.

In consequence one would expect the rate of profit to be positively
causally correlated to the sunspot cycle. From this it is not difficult
to hypothesise a linkage to the rate of accumulation and other activity.
Paul Cockshott