Re: [OPE] Services (->Paula)

From: Paul Cockshott <>
Date: Wed Jan 07 2009 - 11:38:23 EST

Jurriaan Bendien wrote:
> Dave Z.,
> If I have wrongly labelled your position, I apologise. However, your
> interpretation like Paul C.'s is clearly "neo-Smithian".
We are both up front about that. Remember that it was Smith who
introduced the idea of productive labour, in attempting
to refine it, Marx only captured part of what Smith was trying to analyse.
> What I am arguing is that for Marx the concept of productive labour in
> capitalist society has nothing directly to do with economic growth,
> but rather with the role of labour in capital accumulation, and
> consequently with how the division of labour is reorganised for the
> purpose
> of capital accumulation.
Can you establish that with a statement by Marx that the idea of
productive labour has for him nothing to do with economic growth?
> In Marx's theory, as I have often emphasized, "capital accumulation"
> is not the same thing as economic growth, since capital can be
> privately accumulated either through net additions to the total stock,
> or through a redistribution of that stock.Indeed, in exceptional cases,
> output growth can reduce absolutely, although the rate of capital
> accumulation increases, at the expense of some social classes. So
> "production of output" and "accumulation of capital" are not the same
> thing for Marx, although the former is conditional on the latter.
I dont think any of us mistake capital accumulation for economic growth,
except in the very limited case of an economy undergoing expanded
reproduction without technical change, in which
case the rate of capital accumulation and the rate of growth of output
are the same. In the more general case they are not.
I am not quite sure how you think capital can accumulate through a
redistribution of the capital stock?
If there has been accumulation, surplus value is being reinvested as
capital, so the capital stock must be going up.

> The real "difficulty" is that what is necessary for the expanded
> reproduction of capital may not be the same as what is necessary for
> the expanded reproduction of a society or economic community. The
> reason for that is, that capital accumulation does not
> necessarily require or presuppose that more is consumed and more is
> produced. Its circuit may be as simple as M-M'.
Well it is true that the illusion of capital accumulation can be
sustained by financial trickery, an apparent M-M', but if this is not
based on real accumulation of materialised products of labour, then the
trickery will only last for while, as the world's banks have just found
to their great cost.
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Received on Wed Jan 7 11:43:13 2009

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