[OPE] Reply to Paul C. and Dave Z. on PUPL, accumulation etc.

From: Jurriaan Bendien <adsl675281@telfort.nl>
Date: Fri Jan 09 2009 - 10:31:07 EST

Paul C. argues:"All trade does is change the ownership of already
existing value".

But in Marx's theory, this is not all that trade does. Among other things, trade speeds up the turnover of capital and thus the accumulation of capital.

Indeed, without credit provision and circulation, the "factors of production" often could not even unite to conserve and create value.

It may be true that no new value is created in exchange, but without exchange occurring, the total amount of value that could exist, would be less.

This is precisely the reason why a financial sector in the economy exists in the first place.

That is quite easy to prove nowadays I would think, since credit problems cause the partial collapse of production and the deterioration of assets,
in other words real and potential value is lost.

I regard the Sraffian analysis of non-basic goods as false, and I think I can also prove that, though I will not do that just now.
Sraffa's concepts are themselves incoherent (I haven't written this up yet for publication).

Of course capital accumulation has to do with economic growth, since in capitalism the former is a prerequisite for the latter.

But as usual, you people conflate different issues - Marx's definition of productive labour does not have to do with what is conducive for economic growth,
but with what is conducive for capital accumulation, for the growth of capital. They are not the same thing.

By conflating capital accumulation and economic growth, I think you degenerate into vulgar bourgeois and technocratic economics.

For twenty years, I have demonstrated and emphasized how, even as the largest redistribution of income and wealth in the whole history of the world occurred,
real production growth stayed rather flat or stagnant in most countries. How is this possible? Because wealth and income was accumulated at the direct expense of others.
This reality of accumulation is so obvious that only a Marxist blinkered by really strange dogmas could miss the facts of experience.

Your reference to "primitive accumulation" shows astonishing ignorance about the modalities of accumulation I was mentioning.

Primitive accumulation refers to expropriation. However, what I was referring to is not expropriation per se, but a trading process
in which the gains of some are directly the losses of others. Obviously if people did not gain something from trade they would
not voluntarily trade at all, but obviously some can gain vastly more than others from the trade.

In principle, it is possible that a few people or organisations accumulate capital and grow richer, although the total stock of wealth
of society decreases.

Dave Zachariah's interpretation of Marx's text is incoherent and false. There is no evidence whatever that Marx restricted his concept of
productive and unproductive labour "to the individual capitalist and his profit". What the evidence does tell us, is that not everything that Marx
wrote on the topic is fully consistent. In particular, the PUPL distinction implies that a component of variable capital at the micro level
cannot be regarded as variable capital at the macro-level. The reason is that Marx believed that some labour does not create new value
but only transfers value.

Marx never believed that "'capital accumulation" means a growth of the stock of "real" capital of the "entire economy". That is a vulgar
interpretation based on a vulgar social ontology and woeful ignorance of economic history. If that was true, you might as well throw out
Das Kapital in the rubbish and just stick to your reading of Adam Smith and David Ricardo. You have missed Marx's critique of
the political economists by a mile.


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Received on Fri Jan 9 10:34:11 2009

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