foucault at eden.rutgers.edu
Tue Jan 31 00:53:34 MST 1995
In response to wpc at cs.strath (make up a handle, dude -
editor's note: the appelation "dude" can, in the parlance of American
subculture, be used to apply to any sentient being, regardless of gender or
I must first, as a sidebar, explain that my comment on "efficient
labor markets" subsumed an analysis more complex than the current capitalist
one. I take into consideration the idea that labor markets cannot be
efficient until they represent worker value without capitalist advantage.
Thus Mr. wpc at cs....'s point is well taken, but I ask my objection be noted.
WPC at cs.strath... does pont out the very central and very thorny
dilemna of the transition to socialism. The workers haven't a pot to p---
in. This puts them at a distinct disadvantage in terms of collateral. It is
also, perhaps, why the bourgeoisie seek to avoid them.
Inflicting their untidiness on teh grat machine of production may
very well send the bosses packing, handkerchiefs to faces, but the clean-up
costs would be staggering. I feel this messy metaphor is, in fact, a rather
apt description of the effects of revolution.
If the workers were able, by organized strike and boycott, to lower
the value of existing capital, they might pick it up for a song. Still, the
need for further expansion, and even the credit needed for present business
pose a problem. One examines then, sources of possible credit. WPC has
identified one - successful coops - but rightly pointed out their possible
inadequacy. Going directly (actually quite indirectly in practice) to one's
fellow citizens through their government holds promise, and peril too. Then,
there is the bourgeoisie. Could they be tempted to invest in businesse in
which they could only hope for a minority share ? I think they could,
although this would require the prepetuation of capital markets. I think
that this is an unavoidably necessary evil - and may in fact not be so evil.
The question then comes to a way to induce the bourgeoisie to take on a more
positive investment mood. Consider this : what would happen if corporations
were transformed (by doing away with the corporation as it is now defined by
law) into limited partnerships. Overnight, formerly carefree investors would
have a terrible burden weighing on them - liability. The very thought of
their ensuing panic makes me giddy. What sort of enterprise would be
attractive if the only productive liquid wealth one could obtain had
partnership liability. Well, accoring to my sources at Chemical Bank in New
York, partnerships require the full investment of the partners to be
considered creditworthy. Workers invest everything in their work, they have
no choice. I should think that firms that could promise complete freedom
from labor strife - employee controlled firms - could also add that important
fact to their credit reports.
Furthermore, the possiblity for investment in - but not
control of - firms by those outside them, while admittedly cutting
into worker take of profits, could supply the liquidity, true market
valuation, and ability of capital to flow from new to old, that are
the true advantages of capitalism.
As for the third world, they will probably have to rely on
government credit for the most part. This will entail, as is now
ever more obvious, quelling the fascists of the IMF and World Bank.
But then, look at Mexico. The capitalists there have proved pretty
fickle lovers for the Americans. Maybe a climate provided by
syndicalist/socialist "maquilla d'oros" will prove more, well, sunny.
Then, there are all those, albeit diminishing, union pension
funds. If they're good enough for the Mafia, they're good enough for
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