LoV and Tory Stabilisation

Chris Burford cburford at gn.apc.org
Fri Jul 7 08:31:14 MDT 1995

Jerry came back joining with me in the challenge to apply the Law of Value
to a concrete situation, with a fine post.

Reluctantly I will have to leave a reply to the second paragraph which
is also very important, about why the christian democrat model of
capitalism is on balance more stable.

To lock horns on the challenge that I think Justin poses at his most
penetrating, [not when he announces that the Law of Value is disproved
but when he doubts the relevance of it],  we are indeed into the realms of
the debate on relative autonomy. I don't doubt for a moment relative

I would say however the question has also to be posed the other way round:
it is one sided to talk only about the relative autonomy of the
superstructure. On this list we also need to clarify the *relative
determinacy of the economic base*

And in what does this determinacy consist? It is not exclusive of all
other contributing factors (what the Althusserian's call overdeteminacy).
For example it is not exclusive of a certain personal chemistry that must
be viable for the time being between Heseltine and Major.

Nor is it about only one solution.

Why did you write Jerry, as if my proposition about the LoV implied
only one solution - your emphasis on the word "only" below ?

I think we agree that British capitalism *is* attempting to increase
capital accumulation at the expense of the working class (a policy that
Thatcher attempted as well).  This does not mean though that due to its
"secular position", this is the *only* option for the expansion of
British capital.  Other options include:  protectionism, breaking with
the Common Market, exploiting British colonies more and increasing
direct foreign investment, devaluation and monetary reform, deregulation,

It is because we are talking about the relative determinacy of
a non-linear dynamic that we can see there are a number of probable
phase states resulting,. Broadly I accept your list, though protectionism,
and exploiting British colonies have little viability for all sorts of
overdetermined reasons. Breaking with the Common Market was flagged
interestingly by Lamont in a recent statement at the time of the
Conservative leadership contest, but got few backers. An example again of
how the LoV *manifests* itself in the probabilities of human consciousness.

We are analysing the relative determinacy of the economic base on the
superstructure. The explanatory power is limited but not to be dismissed

It is limited because it does not produce rigid cause effect consequences.

It is not to be dismissed because it does explain why certain outcomes
are more probable and have more staying power at particular times than

If  people do not accept this they are in honour bound to agree with Justin
that the LoV is part of a marxist credo with no explanatory relevance
except to say that exploitation occurs, which we know anyway.

Chris Burford

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