LoV and Tory Stabilisation

Chris Burford cburford at gn.apc.org
Sat Jul 8 07:50:58 MDT 1995

[I have dropped the question mark after "Tory Stabilisation". Even
though the stabilisation is only temporary there has definitely been
some stabilisation.]

I would like to thank Howie for his return post. By arguing a
bit more about this, including the important things he had to add
about Finance Capital, I think together we are illuminating the
issues that certainly I regard as very important.

Howie expanded on the role of Finance Capital and Britain, or I wonder
if it should be called London? And made various comments.

If it is true that
>>>> Britain has more direct investment in the US than Japan (can
someone confirm that I got this right?).<<<
that is remarkable. One of the hidden and most significant battles of
the Second World War, fought without a fight, was that in six years
British financial ownership of the USA was wiped out to zero. If that
position has now been restored over the last 50 years I hope someone
has either confirmed this important fact on the list [I have time lag
problem using the digest - but it is tidier] or will do so. 50 years is
a short space of time and it will be very intesting to consider whether
this has come about through accidental circumstantial reasons, or whether
there is a major underlying pattern here, perhaps about the relationship
of finance to industrial capital - a strange attractor.

Against that I heard one commentator say recently that 55% of the
current inward investment in the USA is coming from Japan alone. That
sounded most alarming not only for the USA but for the world if
it illustrates the famine of capital accumulation at present.
NB we seem to have the riddle, or perhaps it is not a riddle, of a
famine of capital accumulation while the circulation of money, is
accelerating past the 3 trillion dollar a day mark.

On the other side of the issue I have heard it argued that Thatcherism's
attack on the working class reached a point where it ceased being productive
for British capitalism in the economic sense.

There is quite a weight of evidence behind this, and it is saying that
in exposing British industry to the harshest winds of the neo-classical
model, a lot of basically viable industrial activity was smashed, which
could have been restructured. Our industrial capital base is now very weak.
The counter attack against this capitalist model is around the regeneration
of industrial capital. The economics editor of the Guardian, Will Hutton
has found his book a best seller in left wing circles.

In essence I was sketching that there is a factional conflict in the
Conservative party between those who stand for a corporatist regeneration
of British industrial capital, in close harmony with the rest of Europe,
and the little Englanders whose economic policy is actually "on your
bike". The part of my analysis that needs further exploration is the
relationship of finance capital to these two factions on the accumulation
of industrial capital. Because finance capital is increasingly global
and has its remorseless laws, I feel that possibly it is more accurate to
talk about London rather than Britain re: finance capital.

The *sorts* of things Howie added to the debate are what I want when
I call for a rational application of the LoV. If we can sidestep
terminological conflict for the moment, let's try saying, the dynamics
of the capitalist economy global and national.

If my earlier post implied an abolute determinacy rather than a
relative determinacy for the LoV, I am happy to clarify the
communication problem from my side.

But Howie's makes a >>>

Second comment. To say that the LOV has a bearing on concrete analysis does
not specify what type of concrete analysis. It could be that the LOV has a
bearing on price formation but none on political evolution, if such
evolution could be shown to be independent of price formation. I am not
arguing this, but I am suggesting that there are two different points which
need to be made in order to sustain your way of applying the LOV to concrete
analysis. In the same vein, one could agree that the LOV has some bearing,
without it necessarily having the predominant influence. I noticed that you
phrased it carefully, arguing that it has "enormous significance". I still
can't say that the evidence you adduced from the case of recent British
politics convinced me of this.


OK. What we are getting down to is that the bearing on concrete analysis
cannot be precisely predictable. My usage of the LoV (dynamics of
capitalist accumulation and distribution of economic activity within
society) is consistent with a model of a determinstic system which has
probabilistic but not precisely predictable results.

I therefore cannot *prove* my analysis, of the particular exciting
events of Tory Party infighting, and if Howie says politely that
he was not convinced of my analysis, there is no higher jury than
the some total of those who might be convinced. But what I am
saying is that we should not be bashful as marxists in daring to try
such analyses, comparable to the points that Howie makes, interestingly
about world-wide finance capital.


Chris Burford, London.

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