Unequal Exchange

boddhisatva foucault at eden.rutgers.edu
Tue Jan 31 02:08:13 MST 1995

		In response to Mr. Henwood's retort to Mattick (via

	I am confused by your letter.  It seems to me that the very data you
cite exemplifies the Mattick point.  That the demand shock of the 30's was
not felt by firms' profit margins seems obvious evidence of the rectitude of
the Mattick quote. Clearly the tremendous contraction of the bourgeoisie -
by consolidation of corporate structure and self-defenestration - is
precisely the dynamic to which Mattick refers.   Only the weirdest of
capitalists sheds a tear at the downfall of his comrades.  Sure,
greens fees and club dues may go up, but the disappearance of those
annoyingly slow, nouveau-riche foursomes is excellent compensation.

	Capitalists are fundamentally inclined to isolate themselves from
market pressures "by any means necessary".  Power mad, they are notorious for
empire buiding in the face of the most obvious decline in market share and
profitability as they build their oligopolic fortresses.  There is no earthly
economic reason that firms such as IBM should SUDDENLY realize that they have
to lay off thousands of workers.  In their efforts to close themselves off
from markets, they have built bulwarks that obscure the truth.  The
capitalist relies absolutely on market inefficiency to shield himself from
overproduction.  How else could he hold down demand (through low wages) and
not be strangled by it.  I suggest you consult (as I have) some of the legion
of smart, young, capitalistic men and women in the management consulting
industry, who are at this very moment wracking their brains to try and
convince the capitalists who have HIRED them, that their companies are
hopelessly, hopelessly, insensitive to profitability.

	You may cite the investor at his computer screen, glaring with
vulpine eye at the bottom line.  But between him and his next uptick there
lies the necessity of profit-killing power.  Not, in fact, a fox, his role is
vulturine.  At best he is a jackal, watching over the relationship between
lion and lamb.  At present, only the lamb is lying down.



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