Discussion:
What next ?
(too old to reply)
Dan
2010-01-28 19:40:44 UTC
Permalink
We all know that the material basis for the existing relations of
production are more important than ideology.

Do you feel Capitalism has now entered a long period of stagnation ?
After all, the World GDP annual growth rate has been constantly
decreasing since the 1960s (from around 6% to the present 1 or so %).
This phenomenon has taken place despite Capitalism becoming entrenched
in China and Russia. With no major technological innovation in sight,
does this mean that ultimate break-down theories of Capitalism are
becoming more of an issue ?

the fundamental contradiction in Capitalism stems from the contradiction
between use-value and exchange-value, but which specific mechanism
could, in the short-term, bring insurmountable contradictions to the
fore, such that the working class would become more conscious of the
necessity to alter the prevailing status quo ?

In other words, is the present degree of exploitation of the surplus
value sufficient to enable Capitalism to expand ? And if not, will the
workers be in a position to take advantage of this fact ?

I would really appreciate any feedback on these questions.
Waistline2
2010-01-28 21:35:25 UTC
Permalink
In a message dated 1/28/2010 11:41:06 A.M. Pacific Standard Time,
d.koechlin at wanadoo.fr writes:

We all know that the material basis for the existing relations of
production are more important than ideology.

the fundamental contradiction in Capitalism stems from the contradiction
between use-value and exchange-value, but which specific mechanism could, in
the short-term, bring insurmountable contradictions to the fore, such that
the working class would become more conscious of the necessity to alter the
prevailing status quo ?


Reply


The material basis of the existing relations or social organization of
labor or social relations of production or production relations was the
industrial process + bourgeois private property.

I personally prefer Karl Marx description of the fundamental contradiction
of the bourgeois mode of commodity production, as this mode of production
grew up and took shape on the basis of the industrial revolution. The
productive forces comes into conflict with the existing social relations of
production, or relations of production or the social organization of labor and
the property form within it has been at work.

The contradiction between use value and exchange value defines and is
called the COMMODITY FORM of products. Insurmountable contradictions
characterized the commodity form, because the individual producers as a totality
never really know if they will find a purchaser for the products. Under
bourgeois production as a coherent society system, contradiction is present from
birth to decay. These insurmountable contradictions of capital produce
periodic crisis of bourgeois commodity production.

One expression of crisis takes the form of the falling rate of profit.
Another form is overproduction of commodities, or the overproduction of
capital, meaning capital can not be deployed in reproducing a given field of
commodities due to lack of purchasing power of wage labor versus production
capacity, as this capacity is deployed on a capitalist basis. These two
examples do not exist independent of one another and one aspect proves the
environment for the other because capitalism is a system. Hence, productive forces
are not run - lay idled or destroyed, because bourgeois property compels
the productive forces to produce beyond the limits of capital to circulate
commodities profitably.

Society can experience crisis but not go into social and/or political
revolution for a number of reasons, including a series of ?bad hair days.?
The workers can fight pitched battles for equality of wages, greater shares of
the social products (wage increases), conditions of labor (work
conditions), for expanded political liberties (civil rights, gay rights, rights of
disabled, environmental issues, animal rights and so on) but society has to
be disrupted in such a way as to bring the necessity of political revolution
to the fore as the only solution and as an instrument to reorganize
society around qualitatively new productive forces. The revolutions of the past
century were all expression of the industrial revolution as it drove
society to pass from agrarian-feudal relations to industrial relations. Within
this social process capitalist and communist vied for power. Where communists
won power they faced carrying out the logic of industrial revolution, in
the more economically backwards areas (meaning productive forces) of the
world because the social revolution was from manufacture to industry property.
The political form of society was contested.

Today - 2010, we face a different kind of social revolution that is not the
old industrial revolution, but we face the same political revolution
outlined by Marx and Engels.

The degree of exploitation of the workers is not enough to bring the
workers to revolution. Auto workers were highly exploited and received high
wages. Exploitation is an economic category meaning degree of extraction of
surplus value and not necessarily degree of political oppressions or lack of
political liberty. Auto workers rebelled for 70 years against the degree of
exploitation.

Allow me to belabor this point. Henry Ford is credited with creating the $5
a day wage as a way to expand production and create an affordable car.
This is a lie. The $5 a day wage was a tool to stabilize employment with turn
over of his work force running as high as 70%, due to intensity of labor.
Perelman - one of the list economist, recently produced his writing on this
subject.

At a certain stage in the development of the material power of production,
the new evolving productive forces comes into antagonism, with the old way
society has been organized around a previous existing social organization
of labor and the foundation of the old society is disrupted and ultimately
shattered. Today this is taking place as the shattering of the old social
contract, which in our country was spoken of as the ?American Dream.?

The American working class can no longer achieve the American Dream in a
period when revolution is compelling society to leap to a new technological
basis. Social revolution combines with political revolution under our
existing conditions.

The degree of exploitation is not what causes and defines the meaning or
ability of capital to expand. The ability of capital to expand means
expansion against a previously existing social system, or in the case of the former
Soviet Union into areas politically shut off to capital. Expansion of
capital also means its ability to reproduce itself as an expanding value. Not
simply as wealth, which can be acquired by hitting the lottery, but an
expanding value or reproducing the social relations of capital on an expanding
scale. In order for capital to expand it must contain the ability to
convert labor into deployable wage labor with the ability to consume on the
capitalist basis. Revolution in the productive has cut off this ability in a way
capitalist society has never experience.

We have entered an epoch of social revolution. .

WL.
Mark Lause
2010-01-28 23:43:40 UTC
Permalink
d.koechlin at wanadoo.fr writes: "We all know that the material basis for the
existing relations of
production are more important than ideology."

How can you separate these things and measure them against each other.
Productive forces have been capable of moving beyond capitalism for
generations. So what holds them back?

ML
S. Artesian
2010-01-28 22:18:56 UTC
Permalink
----- Original Message -----
From: "Dan" <d.koechlin at wanadoo.fr>
" <sartesian at earthlink.net>
Sent: Thursday, January 28, 2010 2:40 PM
Subject: [Marxism] What next ?



.
Q: Do you feel Capitalism has now entered a long period of stagnation ?
After all, the World GDP annual growth rate has been constantly decreasing
since the 1960s (from around 6% to the present 1 or so %). This phenomenon
has taken place despite Capitalism becoming entrenched in China and Russia.
With no major technological innovation in sight, does this mean that
ultimate break-down theories of Capitalism are becoming more of an issue?
_______________

A: Capital has been in a long period of stagnation since 1969-1970. The
entrenchment of capitalism in Russia put Russia into negative growth for
several years, with the impact on life expectancies etc. still
reverberating. It is precisely the technological innovation that has
created the current critical moment for capital-- that has created, and
maintained, overproduction. As for the ultimate breakdown-- what does that
mean? Was WW2 an ultimate breakdown? Sure. And it was an ultimate
recuperation also.
____________________

Q: the fundamental contradiction in Capitalism stems from the contradiction
between use-value and exchange-value, but which specific mechanism could,
in the short-term, bring insurmountable contradictions to the fore, such
that the working class would become more conscious of the necessity to
alter the prevailing status quo ? In other words, is the present degree of
exploitation of the surplus
Post by Dan
value sufficient to enable Capitalism to expand ? And if not, will the
workers be in a position to take advantage of this fact ?
_______________

A: The degree of exploitation of labor to produce surplus value at a rate
sufficient for capitalist expansion is the same rate of exploitation that
makes capitalism contract. More intense exploitation will be, and has
already been, accompanied by destruction of the means of production. See
for example, the article in the Wall Street Journal of 25/01/10 on the
shrinking corporation. Capital spending in 2009 in the US declined 22
percent in 2009 vs. 2008. Intel, which dominates the market for
microprocessors, reported a "good" 4Q 2009, yet since 2005 total revenues
have declined 9.5 percent, earnings are down 50 percent, and unemployment is
back to the 2003- recession level.

Can the workers take advantage of this? Of course. But how, what's the
path to the advantage, that's the issue. Devil's in the details.
brad bauerly
2010-01-29 12:50:53 UTC
Permalink
A) I would be careful not to take the exceptional period of the 'post-war
boom' as the normal for capitalism. If we look at annual growth rate of GDP
per capita for the world (Maddison) we see: 1820-1870 .53%; 1870-1913 1.30%;
1913-1950 .91%; 1950-1973 2.93%; 1973-1998 1.33%. So, we should really take
a longer-term look at the situation.

B) I would also caution against claims such as 'no major technological
innovation in sight'. This is simply beyond any of us to predict and there
are places where technology could advance very rapidly (ie: biotech). See
Mandel on long-waves and their technological influence if you want to parcel
out a longer-term history of the relationship.

C) Also, don't forget the contradiction between Value and exchange-value
along with exchange-value and use-value. Focusing only on the latter leads
to theories that neglect production and the contradictions that arise out of
the discrepancies between what/how stuff is produced and how the market
allocates an exchange-value on it and the mediation process between the two
that must take place.

D) "We all know that the material basis for the existing relations of
production are more important than ideology." More important maybe, but not
solely important. As we have seen the past 40+ years, it is not simply a
matter of material determination of history but it is fundamentally a
political/ideological question.

Brad
Post by Dan
We all know that the material basis for the existing relations of
production are more important than ideology.
Do you feel Capitalism has now entered a long period of stagnation ?
After all, the World GDP annual growth rate has been constantly
decreasing since the 1960s (from around 6% to the present 1 or so %).
This phenomenon has taken place despite Capitalism becoming entrenched
in China and Russia. With no major technological innovation in sight,
does this mean that ultimate break-down theories of Capitalism are
becoming more of an issue ?
the fundamental contradiction in Capitalism stems from the contradiction
between use-value and exchange-value, but which specific mechanism
could, in the short-term, bring insurmountable contradictions to the
fore, such that the working class would become more conscious of the
necessity to alter the prevailing status quo ?
In other words, is the present degree of exploitation of the surplus
value sufficient to enable Capitalism to expand ? And if not, will the
workers be in a position to take advantage of this fact ?
I would really appreciate any feedback on these questions.
------------------------------
Carrol Cox
2010-01-29 14:31:03 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dan
We all know that the material basis for the existing relations of
production are more important than ideology.
This is profoundly false. (Incidentally, the base-superstructure
metaphor itself is misleading, but it is especially misleading when
crudely misconstruedd, as it is here.)

The relations of production are themselves the base, so to speak of
their having a "material base" is nonsense and can only lead to
nonsense.

Carrol

Continue reading on narkive:
Loading...