Re: [OPE] Reply to critics

From: Paul Cockshott <>
Date: Thu Oct 21 2010 - 10:02:25 EDT

Yes the boundaries beteen depts are fuzzy, diesel fuel is both a means of production and an item of workers consumption for workers cars. But the simplified model with sharp boundaries does bring out causal mechanisms. Although some goods overlap dept boundaries, others, are pretty clear examples of department types.
 A 10megawatts marine diesel is pretty clearly in dept I, and a destroyer escort in dept III.
I will reply to the other point in another email.

--- original message ---
From: "GERALD LEVY" <>
Subject: Re: [OPE] Reply to critics
Date: 21st October 2010
Time: 1:40:14 pm

Hi Paul C:

Let's look, then, at means of consumption consumed by the capitalist class.
To begin with, there is in practice a cross-over between commodities consumed
by the working class and commodities consumed by the working class often with
the same firms producing commodities for consumption by all classes. How
ridiculous would it be to say that workers in a sneaker plant are productive
of surplus value when they produce sneakers for working-class consumers but
unproductive when they produce the exact same sneakers for consumers in
capitalist households? Also, the very meaning of 'luxury' goods changes over
time as workers are able to struggle for an increase in their customary needs
(and hence a change in the VLP). So, there isn't any hard and fast dividing line
between the two (sub-) departments producing means of consumption. In addition.
there's the issue of budgetary choices by workers: in actuality a significant percentage
of workers DO buy luxury goods - even if it means that they have to cut back on
'essentials' such as food consumption. This is, at least, the case in the more advanced
capitalist nations.

Moreover, as I have been insisting, capitalists producing luxury goods can invest
their profits back into the same sub-department, the other sub-department or the
department producing means of production. Moreover, there is no reason to think they
will have a problem again obtaining c + v for their firms including in higher
quantities. Certainly, other capitalists will be willing to sell them means of production
if they have the money capital with which to buy them. And, there's no reason to think
that there will either be a shortage of labour power for capitalists producing luxury
goods to hire or that workers would be more willing to work in one sub-branch than another.

In solidarity, Jerry

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Received on Thu Oct 21 10:03:53 2010

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