[OPE-L:1435] Re: character-masks

Gerald Levy (glevy@pratt.edu)
Wed, 6 Oct 1999 20:40:21 -0400 (EDT)

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Wed, 6 Oct 1999 22:13:40 +0100
From: Michael J Williams <michael@williamsmj.screaming.net>

> If the distinction can't be dropped at one level of abstraction, it
> _can_ be *modified*, at a more concrete level.

I am not sure what is meant here - but I think that I disagree. It rather
depends on what you mean by 'modified'. Labour that is productive because,
as identified at a high level of abstraction, it is employed by capital
cannot, except contingently, become unproductive when viewed at a less
abstract level. Similarly unproductive labour (qua labour employed in
non-capitalist relations of production) cannot become productive at some
more concrete level,

> For instance, many capitalists _are_,.
> in part, motivated by a desire to increase personal consumption even
> though this unproductive individual consumption of capital will decrease
> the amount of money capital available for the further accumulation of
> capital.

Of course - but I am sure that you will agree that this penchant for luxury
consumption is not a systemic necessity? And, of course, there are
system-imposed limits that if transgressed may force the demise of the
capitalist concerned qua capitalist.

> Furthermore, individual capitalists may "take off their masks"
> when they are concerned with other goals, e.g. increased prestige. And,
> when we are discussing the behavior of individual capitalists, it may be
> that some of them *are* concerned with the use-value of the commodity that
> their firm produces. E.g. there might be shipbuilders who want to be in
> the shipbuilding business even if it means that their rate of profit
> might be lower than the average rate of profit. This is even more
> apparent if we examine the goals of the capitalists who own many
> professional sports franchises.

Similar remarks would apply to these examples (with which, of course, as
stylised facts, I agree).

Comradely ...,


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