Re: [OPE] absinence theory

From: Dave Zachariah <>
Date: Mon Oct 25 2010 - 16:32:35 EDT

On 2010-10-25 22:14, GERALD LEVY wrote:
> So, curiously, you are giving abstinence theory new life, but the idea
> that industrial capitalists will only accumulate and will be
> parsimonious with the purchase of means of consumption for themselves
> is, for the most part, a historical fiction. While it is true that the
> force of competition tends to make capitalists focus on accumulation (see
> our recent discussion on the assumption by Marx that capitalists wear
> 'character masks'), how can you - from a materialist perspective - believe
> that capitalists (industrial capitalists included) are not concerned with
> individual consumption?
Well, I for one do not believe that the old ideology of frugality was a
reality. I was echoing its spokesman. The emerging rentier class, in
contrast to the old industrial bourgeoisie, on the other hand was more
than happy to openly do what Veblen later described. It was merely
copying the nobility.

But none of this changes the basic point that their luxury consumption
is not a necessity for the reproduction of capitalist relations of
production, but an unproductive side-effect of them recognized by Smith
and Marx.

//Dave Z
ope mailing list
Received on Mon Oct 25 16:34:15 2010

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