[OPE-L:3217] Re: labour-power shortages

Paul Cockshott (wpc@cs.strath.ac.uk)
Wed, 2 Oct 1996 01:13:01 -0700 (PDT)

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>Putting aside the many conceptual questions that I have regarding falling
>rate of profit caused by labour-power shortage theories of crisis, I think
>that it is misleading to examine this question empirically in the case of
>one or even several advanced capitalist nations. If, for example, we can
>talk about a *world-wide* crisis of capitalism in the 1970's, can we make
>the case that there are labour-power shortages in most of these countries
>during the expansionary period or are labour-power shortages special cases
>in some (but not all) advanced capitalist nations prior to the onset of
>the crisis? While some European countries in recent decades have had
>labour-power shortages and this frequently manifests itself in the
>increasing number of "guestworkers", can we -- in these instances --
>attribute the crisis to the shortages of labor-power?
Paul C:
I would be loath to generalise without looking in detail at the statistics
for several countries. In the UK case, I would not attribute the crisis of
the mid to late 70s solely to labour shortages, but they were a contributory
factor. Other factors were the rising percentage of unproductive to
productive workers, the rise in rents as a share of surplus value and the
rise in
the organic composition of capital. The latter is obviously not independent
of both the labour shortage and the declining fraction of productive workers.
Paul Cockshott