Re: [OPE] free competition

Date: Mon Apr 11 2011 - 08:24:48 EDT

> Jerry: “Is it good for workers that there is competition in the market
> for labour-power? No, this competition exerts a downward pressure on
> wages.”
> A. Agafonow: If there is any market where differentiation hinders
> competition, it is labor market. This downward pressure is due to an
> increase of population and automation of production.
That would be the case for some types of structural unemployment, Alejandro,
but not cyclical unemployment. The latter is a consequence of the *business*
cycle which, as you know, is associated both historically and theoretically
with capitalism.
> Jerry: “Is it good when there is competition among potential tenants
> for working-class housing? No, it tends to drive up rents.”
> A. Agafonow: Provided that there is not enough investment in housing…
> How competition drives wages down while driving rents up?
Why is that puzzling? If the demand for labour-power is less than the
supply of labour-power then that exerts a downward pressure on wages, ceteris
paribus; if the demand for working-class housing is greater than the
supply of working-class housing, then that exerts an upward pressure on
rents, ceteris paribus. This doesn't mean that the two events are
synchronized, however: the downward pressure on wages tends to occur during
a slump and rising rents tend to occur in regions when the growth of the
population exceeds the supply of housing and the growth rate of its stock
(this can occur because of the very same mechanism which creates
structural unemployment in some areas and reduces it in others).
> If we guarantee enough
> funds going to social housing, we will not have hiking rents and the
> market will guarantee that the working-class get what they want in
> terms of location and design. Again, without market you will have to
> condemn people to live in neighborhoods that they don’t like.

The creation of public housing (which I guess is what you mean by
social housing) is a non-market-based, non-competitive-based dynamic,
just like the provision of a 'basic income' to people substitutes
a cooperative, solidaristic ethic for the ethic of the marketplace.
It is the market which condemns the overwhelming majority of people
in the world to live in neighborhoods they don't like - it condemns them
to live in hoods they can afford rather than the areas they prefer.
> Jerry: Is it good for the hungry that there is competition for food?
> No, it drives up food prices and means that only the hungry who can
> afford the food can obtain it through the
> market.>
> A. Agafonow: Earth overpopulation
What over-population?
Over-population in reference to what? Are you referring to Marx's
relative surplus population or are you referring to the banal
Malthusian concept?
> is partly due to historically low
> price of food. Cases of famine like in Burkina Faso are partly because
> of the lack of market at all, not only “free” or “regulated” markets.
Actually, people don't starve to death because of a lack of food.
They starve to death because of a lack of *money*. Evidence of this
is to be found in the fact that in every case in modern history the
wealthy never starved to death. Only the poor die of starvation -
and that is related to market activities, including the market for

> Competition
> provides for commutative justice, which is essentially good.
Competition is just if you think that survival of the fittest and
ruthlessness (you do whatever you need to do to win the competition)
is just. I guess the Mafia would agree with that.
In solidarity, Jerry
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Received on Mon Apr 11 08:25:45 2011

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