[OPE-L:3367] RE: accumulation of capital revisited

andrew kliman (Andrew_Kliman@msn.com)
Fri, 11 Oct 1996 21:14:01 -0700 (PDT)

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Hi Gil, glad to hear from you!

I had written,

"Despite what folks like Roemer might want us to believe, it is absolutely
impossible for markets to substitute for this power of capital over labor "at
the point of production," as Marxists used to say. Even if workers were to
contract "voluntarily" to do more work than the equivalent they receive in
wages, the power of the State would be needed to ENFORCE those contracts, and
there's nothing voluntary about that enforcement from the workers' point of
view, absolutely nothing."

In ope-l 3363, Gil responded: "Despite Andrew's suggestion to the contrary,
Roemer would certainly not deny this."

I'm glad to hear this. Why, then, is Roemer typically construed as arguing
that exploitation arises from property "relations" and unequal distribution of
resources, and not in the production process? What is he actually arguing,
instead --- that capitalist relations of production are compatible with
different property forms and contractual relations? --- which is how I
understand your own argument, and which is definitely something I can really
get behind! The critique of Roemer's work would then be a complete inversion
of the content of his argument, since his argument would then be reinforcing
in a novel way (as yours does) Marx's stress on the importance of the
capital/labor relation in production as against property forms and contractual

Andrew Kliman