Re: [OPE] free competition

From: Jurriaan Bendien <>
Date: Sat Apr 09 2011 - 16:02:12 EDT

In The Poverty of Philosophy, Marx already noted:

"In practical life we find not only competition, monopoly and the antagonism
between them, but also the synthesis of the two, which is not a formula, but
a movement. Monopoly produces competition, competition produces monopoly.
Monopolists are made from competition; competitors become monopolists. If
the monopolists restrict their mutual competition by means of partial
associations, competition increases among the workers; and the more the mass
of the proletarians grows as against the monopolists of one nation, the more
desperate competition becomes between the monopolists of different nations.
The synthesis is of such a character that monopoly can only maintain itself
by continually entering into the struggle of competition."

The Marxist knowledge bureaucrats were never really able to theorize
monopoly and competition in a way consistent with Marx's theory of value.
First, Joe Stalin took a sledgehammer to Marxian scholarship. Then the
Dobb-Sraffa-Meek trio provided a false reading of Capital Vol. 3, based on
von Bortciewicz. Next, Baran and Sweezy confused everybody with their
"surplus theory". Finally, the ideologists of "state monopoly capitalism"
abandoned Marx's theory altogether. To make any headway, we have to look to
other intellectual traditions.

What does "free competition" mean? It means, in the first instance, simply
that enterprises can legally set up business in competition with other
suppliers of a market. Totally free competition is rare, and in various
sectors the capital requirements for entry is too large for most would-be
competitors. Nevertheless markets can be "fairly open" in the sense that
they do permit competition within a defined legal framework. Even the
largest monopolists are not immune to encroachments from competitors.


ope mailing list
Received on Sat Apr 9 16:03:10 2011

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Sat Apr 30 2011 - 00:00:03 EDT