Re: [OPE] capitalism as a * * * system

Date: Fri May 27 2011 - 09:08:35 EDT

Hi Howard, Michael W, and Paula:
Free labor, as you know, has a dual meaning. One side of free labor
is the freedom that capital has to 'free' the wage-worker from
employment. A further consideration of this question shows that it
is linked to the relative surplus population (the industrial reserve
army) and is a reality which shapes the form of control over the
direct producers under capitalism, i.e. it is a reality the existence
of which leads to the specific form of control required under
capitalism to pump surplus labor out of workers. If there is no competition
among capitalists and if there is constant full employment where
everyone has the right to work, how can this be said to be capitalism?
In solidarity, Jerry
> Still too hasty. Make that selling labor power as a commodity!
> The second point was too hastily done. The free worker gives you the
> possibility of selling labor as a commodity and thus the division
> between necessary and surplus labor. The reproduction of capital
> requires the appropriation of the surplus product as value by
> non-producers rather than control of the surplus by associated
> workers. Non-producers must be free to appropriate surplus value from
> laboring producers.
> Michael, I think your point is wrong. Capital, at least in Marx's
> sense, is value that increases itself. But there is no value, again in
> Marx's sense, without 2. Recall the analysis of section 3 of Chapter
> 1 of Capital. You cannot have a single producer and have value. This
> shows the importance of not conflating juridical forms with the
> underlying relations of economic life. Even were the state to own
> everything -- and Stalin himself claimed there were two separate
> sectors that had to exchange commodities with each other, state
> factories and state farms (as well as foreign trade which produced
> commodities for export) -- but even were the state to hold everything
> in a single juridical form, we would still have to determine whether in
> economic reality there were separate producers producing independently
> for exchange. And of course in the ussr and eastern europe there
> were. Overcoming the separation that characterizes value is no small
> As for the freedom to exploit labor Paula, yes -- Marx is clear in his
> discussion of the buying and selling of labor power that without the
> free worker, you don't have capitalism.
> howard
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: Michael Webber
> To: Outline on Political Economy mailing list
> Sent: Wednesday, May 25, 2011 7:17 PM
> Subject: Re: [OPE] capitalism as a * * * system
> well, paula, it seems that capital didn't always appear as many
> capitals. if we accept that stalinist ussr and eastern europe were
> state capitalist, then they had single capitals. [of course, there
> were different states...] so your question could be posed: what did
> state capitalism fail? i'd venture the view that many-capitals
> capitalism was technically more dynamic and became able to out-compete
> single-capital capitalism.
> michael
> On 26 May 2011 08:58, Paula
> > wrote:
> Howard wrote:
> "actually Marx is pretty clear that the concept of 'capital in general' does
> not extend to any consideration of competition".
> We should also point out that, even at this level of abstraction, capital
> has certain freedoms - crucially, the freedom to exploit labor. This freedom
> is also not absolute, it has limits that are biological, cultural,
> political, etc. Nevertheless it's real and important.
> The really interesting and difficult question is whether the freedom to
> compete (also real and important, though limited) is already contained in
> germ within this more abstract concept of 'capital in general'. Or, to ask
> the question in a different form, why does capital always appear as 'many
> capitals', even in the era of imperialism, when monopolistic tendencies and
> state regulation are at their most developed?
ope mailing list
Received on Fri May 27 09:09:33 2011

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Tue May 31 2011 - 00:00:02 EDT