[OPE-L] SV: [OPE-L] what is irrational in the functioning of capitalism?

From: Martin Kragh (Martin.Kragh@HHS.SE)
Date: Mon Nov 27 2006 - 16:00:47 EST

Goecmen wrote:
"The aim of capitalism is to produce as many wage labourers as possible and put them on employment to exploit."
The aim of the capitalist entrepreneur, I believe, is accumulation of capital. Through this tendency, more areas of human society has historically been subsumed in a wagelabour relation over time. Ricardo was one who made the accumulation of capital modus very explicit in his Principles. I don't see that the ratio of wage labourers-population is really as important though.
I think that what one believes to be "dysfunctional" to capitalism depends on what ideals you have; the individual capitalist cannot employ more labourers than what is profitable. In every day discourse, it is tuff luck for those who remain outside the pool of employed. Few see this as dysfuncitonal, rather economists regard it as a natural aspect of everyday market economy life.
One political system which recently collapsed was the USSR. CJ Arthur has made a very challenging claim when he metaphorically wrote that the USSR was a "selfaborting monstrosity", he even tell us that it was not a mode of production. Had this been the case, he writes, the system would have been able to reproduce itself. This is what a stable mode of productions does. Here we see a clear case of "dysfunctionality" in action, and one aspect of this was the full employment of labour aspect. 
We can thus learn something about capitalism here I believe; for one, it is obviously much more functional than people give it credit. I think CJ Arthur mentions "the spring", the motor so to speak, when he differentiated western capitalism from the USSR. I personally believe that what we see in this debate is two sides of the same coin, an aspect of capitalism which might be dysfunctional in one way is also functional, the capitalist system creates effects and we evaluate these in contradictory ways, because they are contradictory.
I might have misunderstood something here though, I am not sure.

Från: OPE-L genom Dogan Goecmen
Skickat: må 2006-11-27 21:13
Ämne: Re: [OPE-L] what is irrational in the functioning of capitalism?

"But the point is really this -  even if we note such things as masses of
people starving while there is enough to eat for all, this does not
necessarily make capitalism irrational. We can say at this point at most
that the pursuit of commercial rationality has undesirable results."
But these "undesirable results" are foreseeable, because markets do not allocate goods according to the needs. They allocate goods to those who can afford to buy them. As a result capitalists destroy thousands and thousands of foods. In other words, they produce to sell but they destroy what they produce and cannot sell. Is this not dysfunctional to capitalism?
"A social system becomes irrational only when its functioning becomes dysfunctional to
itself, i.e. it is in reality unable to reproduce itself anymore. Obviously
if people starve, this may in the given case make the system dysfunctional
to itself, insofar as it can no longer reproduce itself. But it may also be
the case, that the system continues to function quite well, even although
masses of people starve."
I am not sure whether I would agree with what you say here. But then even if I accept your thesis I would say that capitalism is dysfunctional to itself. Why? The aim of capitalism is to produce as many wage labourers as possible and put them on employment to exploit. This is the very rerason of the existence of capital. But according to the figures of ILO half of the work force of the world is unemployd. That is to say that though capital wants to exploit them it cannot because it excludes these people from any form of wage labour. Is this not dysfunctional to capitalism?

Warm regards


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