Re: [OPE-L] Interview with Alfredo Saad Filho

From: Gerald_A_Levy@MSN.COM
Date: Wed Jun 01 2005 - 15:23:20 EDT


Thanks for this, Ian.  As I haven't met Alfredo yet, I was quite
interested to see his picture!

> Quote:
> "There are many ideas in circulation about what a post-capitalist
> society could look like, but there is no consensus. The question is an
> important one. The radical left cannot have a purely negative
> programme  you can't convince people purely by saying that capitalism
> is a bad idea."

Why did you select this quote?

I think this quote is best understood with reference to the para that
went before it which began "I don't think such a society would look like
the Soviet Union ...."


I was struck by the paragraph: "The bit-by-bit privatization of the NHS
in Britain is one example of a government and groups of capitalists
'attempting to absorb new areas into the commodity system ... if they can
achieve that, they will have increased the *rate* of exploitation of
workers,  regardless of the changes in wages.'" (emphasis added, JL)

I don't really understand the "regardless of the changes in wages" clause
above.  If wages are increased by an amount equal to or greater than
the cost to them of  privatized health care, then the _rate_ of exploitation
wouldn't increase, would it?  In any event, would _workers_ be the ones
who would pay out-of-pocket for health care after privatization or would
the cost be born by corporations or would there be a 'co-pay' arrangement?
_If_ capitalists pay for the health care costs, then that would not cause
there to be an increase in the _rate_ of exploitation.  What confuses me
about the quote above is whether Alfredo is talking about the rate of
surplus  value or the _mass_ of surplus value.  The privatization of the
NHS -- to the extent that it would cause a decrease in the quantity of
workers employed by the state and an increase in the quantity of
[productive] workers employed by capital -- would increase the _mass_ of
s but not necessarily the rate of surplus value.

In solidarity, Jerry

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