SUBJECTIVITY, HEGEL'S ABSOLUTE, SELF-EXPANDING CAPITAL

Paul Cockshott wpc at clyder.gn.apc.org
Tue Jul 25 09:13:58 MDT 1995


Rakesh writes
-------------

The self-expansion of capital cannot be questioned; the tendency towards
an
equilibrium growth path is another question altogether

Paul
----
There is a possible contradiction in this sentence. Possible, since the
terminology in the first and second clauses are drawn from different
theoretical frameworks, so that their connection and thus contradiction
is more implicit than explicit. But on the assumption that they are
meant for form a single argument, lets look at the implications.

By talking of an equilibrium growth path in this context, one is led
to assume that you are talking in terms of path of equilibrium growth
of the value of the aggregate capital in a society; as opposed to the
standard terminology of growth economics in which it is not explicitly
values but use values that are the subject of interest. If we take this
interpretation your sentence reads:

"The self-expansion of capital cannot be questioned;
but the tendency towards an equilibrium growth path for of social
capital is another question altogether"

Thus either:
  the sentence contradicts itself, by questioning for
  social capital what is asserted for capital in general:
     if there is not even a tendency towards an equilibrium growth,
     this implies the possibility of tendencies towards contraction,
     or just chaotic fluctuations.
Or:
   the capital refered to at the begining is not capital in general,
   but capital in the specific cycle of converting
   money -> labour-power -> commodities ->more money

If it is the latter, then there are no contradictions and your statement
is unexceptionable, since asserting the existence of the cycle m-c-m'
doesnot imply that the double cycle m-c-m'-c'-m'' must exist. It is
explicit in
Marx's analysis of money that the circuit of commodities c-m-c can be
interrupted by the formation of hoards- the invalidity of Say's law.
To deduce the double cycle from the single, one has to assume Say's law.

If we consider the aggregate social capital, it is made up of a number of
individual capitals whose cycles will be, to use laser terminology,
incoherent, i.e., in random phase alignment, and the effect of summing
over these is analogous to summing over a series of connected double
cycles m-c-m'-c'-m''. Only if the latter is predominant will
the aggregate capital expand.

We can go further than this, and say that even for an individual capital,
if we consider the time integral over a series of cycles, we can only
assert that it is necessarily self expanding value if
 a) Say's law holds
 b) the capitalist does not chose to spend all his profits on
    fine houses, fine wines, horses and servants


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