Re: [OPE] "A Letter from John Ketch, Esq. Asserting His Right to the Necks of the Over-Grown Brokers." (1721).

Date: Sat Apr 16 2011 - 16:15:40 EDT

> I'm sorry, but there are several questions that your last posts suggest to
> me:
> wouldn't it be necessary to make a distinction between commercial
> monopolies, one of which was the South Sea Bubble, and industrial
> monopolies, which could only have appeared after the Industrial Revolution
> and maybe only after the second ind rev of around the last quarter of the
> 19th century?
Yes, that's a valid distinction. More important still from the perspective of
the bourgeois champions of free competition is that the South Sea
Company was a *monopoly which was created by the state*. Their call
for free competition was especially an attack on the right of existence of
those type of monopolies and hence also a challenge to the Crown.
> And wouldn't it be necessary to take into account the
> changes experienced by the joint stock companies, in their juridical form,
> from the first to the second of the mentioned historical periods? and the
> same in relation to the banks and the framework of the banking industry
> and their relations to both commercial and industrial capital in both
> periods? The same with respect to the colonial systems of the period of
> the domination of commercial capital and that of industrial capital?
Yes, all of that happened. But, that's where the difference lies: you refer
above to actual historical trends whereas 'free competition' from its very
beginning and conception was inherently ideological (and idealist) -
it was an *ideal* to be aspired to from the standpoint of one section of the

> Finally, I wonder what are the objective criteria you have in mind in
> order to say that there was or that there wasn't free competition before
> the changes of the late 19th century. It seems to me that one has to
> consider that there are no pure situations, say a pure free competition or
> a pure monopolisation. Thus, is it possible to define degrees of
> competition and of monopolisation that would allow to characterize the two
> periods?
Yes, there are no pure situations, but that is a statement about reality.
What you are not recognizing is what this expression meant to those who
advocated it, its genesis, and the role that this concept played in
bourgeois *ideology*.

Capitalism was never even close to attaining the ideal of free competition.
It was an ideal - similar to (but not quite the same as) 'perfect
As for the 'objective criteria', there are only certain criteria which are
relevant from the standpoint of the meaning of this expression - and they
concern the government regulation or - as advocates of free competition
prefer to say - 'interference' by the state in the process of competition
by capitalist firms and firm-decision-making. The acts which I alluded to
with reference to Britain comprise an objective body of evidence concerning
these questions.
In solidarity, Jerry

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Received on Sat Apr 16 16:16:42 2011

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