[OPE-L:3712] Re: Two "causes" of deviation?

Michael Williams (100417.2625@compuserve.com)
Tue, 26 Nov 1996 14:12:43 -0800 (PST)

[ show plain text ]

In reply to a point I made in an intervention in his discussion with Ramos
> Paul C:
> Ramos was assuming competition rather than monopoly. This is implicit in the
> assumption of profit rate equalization. Under these circumstances I showed
> that the coexistence of his two different production techniques using
> amounts of social labour time was an unstable equilibrium.
> If the analysis is not sustainable in the general case, then the theory of
> mechanisation in capital 1 would be invalid. Perhaps you would care to present
> a critique of this theory?

I will leave Ramos to clarify what assumptions he was making and their import. I
would just add:
1. Capitalist competition is a lot more complex than what is captured by the
perfect competition-pure monopoly axis, and the orientation about equilibrium.
2. What bothers me about the dualist position, in this context, is the causal
and/or intentional links presumed to be operating between your price system and
your labour value system.
3. It is not the 'model' (or whatever they are being called these days) that
bothers me but its interpretation in order that it can be claimed to be
asserting something about real capitalist economies.
4. In these terms, intra-industry price equalisation and inter-industry profit
equalisation are abstract tendencies, the real, let alone the empirical,
manifestation of which we may expect to be complex and changing.
5. I have yet to see a persuasive account of how the complex dynamics of
competition in the face of incentives and constraints expressed in monetary
terms, and orientated towards equilibria on only the most transient definition
can usefully be interpreted as imposing the kinds of trends in terms of the
labour value which are sufficiently stable and cumulative to manifest the kind
of predictions of instability (as the basis for an argument of unsustainability)
that you wish to make.
6. I decline your invitation to mount a generalised critique of what you call
the account of 'mechanisation' in CAPITAL 1, first because I think it does not
exhibit any general 'invalidity' (that is it is, in general, deductively sound -
ie valid); and second because it is susceptible to the kind of interpretation
indicated above, and is, accordingly, also a cogent account of the processes
involved. In particular, the economising on labour needed to ground the trpf (as
one of a complex of tendencies of accumulation) is itself to be grounded by
reference to the complexities of cost-reduction in terms of real subordination
in the labour process, and much else. Once again, I have difficulty seeing how
this can ensure the kind of purging of capitals using techniques with different
compositions of capital upon which your argument turns.
7. Concomitantly, I also decline the argument by authority implicit in this
reference to Marx.

Dr Michael Williams
"Books are Weapons"

Department of Economics Home:
School of Social Sciences 26 Glenwood Avenue
De Montfort University Southampton
Hammerwood Gate SO16 3QA
Kents Hill
Milton Keynes
tel:+1908 834876 tel/fax: +1703 768641
fax:+1908 834979
email: mwilliam@dmu.ac.uk 100417.2625@compuserve.com