Unequal Exchange: A Riposte

Sudeep M Dasgupta smdst7+ at pitt.edu
Tue Jan 31 08:51:25 MST 1995



On Fri, 27 Jan 1995, Scott Marshall wrote:

> >Crisis for capital? Where? It seems quite solidly in control of everything.
> >Of course that could always change, but I want evidence of a present
> >crisis.
> >
> >Doug
>
> People in my neighborhood got all the evidence they need. The crisis of
> capitalism is very real to thousands of former steelworkers and everyone
> else in my neighborhood in South Chicago. They are homeless, hungry,
> unemployed and underemployed. The schools our kids go to are falling apart.
> There is no health care. The drug dealers are openly controling some streets
> (in tacit alliance with local police). Jobs are disappearing on the order of
> hundreds a week. People are being evicted every day. Rents, food costs and
> other basic needs are costing more and more.  A general decay of almost
> every aspect of life for working class people with a particular racist edge
> - a particular harshness and violence to the poverty and decay in African
> American, Mexican American and other oppressed communities. In general the
> rate of relative and absolute impoverishment of the working class is pretty
> much accellerating during this so-called upturn. etc etc etc.
>
> On the other side of the ledger - yes - record profits, a growing chasm
> between the haves and the have nots, monoplization and greater
> concentrations of finance capital etc, etc, etc.
>
> However - no matter how capital may seem to be in control, the instablity of
> their system is causing alarm for them. The warning crys of all stripes of
> capitalist mouthpieces from the conservative Kevin Phillips to the libereal
> AM Rosenthal all make the point clearly - they are worried about capital's
> control, about capitalism's increasing instability. As the system slips more
> and more into decay and general crisis "they" have no real answers. This is
> the desperation of the new ultra-right radicals like the Newt. The 'Contract
> on America' is a desparate, demogogic declaration of bankruptcy. Their slash
> and burn attacks are the howls of pre-fascist desperation. One of the
> greatest contributions of Dimitrov was to point out that fascism is the
> resort of capitalism when it is no longer able to rule in the old way thru
> bourgois democracy. The capitalists are finding it harder and harder to rule.
>
> Take heart - "the American working class is slow to move, but when they do
> they move with 8 league boots." - F. Engels
> ***************************************************
> Scott Marshall                             *
> 3116 S. Halsted                              *
> Chicago, Il. 60608                            **
> (312) 842-5854                                 **
> *************************                       **
> e-mail: Scott at rednet.org                   ****  **
> Ask me about the Communist Party, USA      *****  **
> ********************************            *   **
> "An ounce of action is worth                * **
> a ton of theory."   -Freddy Engels          **
>                                             **
> ****************************************************
>
Doug's comment on capital being in control is predicated on the
assumption that the notion of control, atleast in this instance,
precludes the possibility for disturbances in the equilibrium that
obtains from the perpetuation of material and social relations of
production.
Scott's response works on this same assumption (the dislocations in
Chicago's economic relations and structures).
It seems fairly clear though, that Marx's conception of the logic of
capital is precisely a refusal to accept some linear, non-discontinuous
smooth operation of the logic of capital.Capital works through the
contradictions that are inherent in the tension between, on the one hand,
profit maximization (the best input-output equation) and on the other,
competition between producers (this being brought into question in some
quarters by the growth of multinational capital).
Coming at this from a different angle, Capital has to work through
difference, not by abolishing it. (cf.Stuart Hall's essays on Ethnicities)
Hence, one could argue that the disturbances and dislocations effected by
capital are not the first signs of its collapse, but offer instead the
very conditions of possibility for its expansion.

Sudeep Dasgupta
smdst7+ at pitt.edu
University of Pittsburgh

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