boddhisatva on capital

Rubyg580 at aol.com Rubyg580 at aol.com
Sat Apr 13 14:22:23 MDT 1996


In a message dated 96-04-13 01:30:41 EDT, you write:

>		Comrade Gina,
>
>	Capital, by any standard, is the ability to provide for the people
>who do the work, before their work creates economic benefit.

No, in fact it's not.  Capital is a social relation of exploitation.  no
capitalist
provides for his workers BEFORE they do the work that he expropriates.  In
fact, as seen many times in this country particularly with undocumented
immigrants, often capitalists don't even provide for the workers AFTER they
have created the wealth that the capitalist then owns.

Perhaps you're saying that the capitalist pays the workers before he sells
the product of their labor and thus reaps his wealth from it.  This is true.
But he pays them with the proceeds from the sale of goods created by
other workers, who created wealth that either he himself expropriated, or
that some other capitalist expropriated and put into circulation thru bank
loans or stock sales, or some other financial manipulation.  But whatever
the immediate source of this "capital" it is ultimately wealth created by the
labor of one class of people, the workers, and expropropriated by another
class, the capitalists.   Therefore it is a social relation.

>  Peru has (or had) enormous copper deposits.  Building the facilities
>to turn that copper into extruded wire and cable, and electrical
>components takes years.  How would Peru take care of the large
>numbers of people necessary to build these facilities?

Peru, like every other country on the face of the earth today, is not a
single entity.  It is composed of different classes, with different
relationships
to the means of produciton--in your example, the mines and the
extrusion facilities.  The mines and factories are built by workers
exploited by local capitalists, or, in most cases in countries like
Peru, by foreign capitalists (imperialists) who use the wealth created
by pervious workers in order to pay the workers who build the facilities
to exploit the present workers.

"taking care"of the people is not part of the equasion of capital.
If  the rare individual capitalist wants to take this on, he does so at
his own risk of losing competitiveness and market share because
of his altruism.

>  Then, since you have to sell them in a competitive market, how
>will you provide for the people who want to realize their ideas for
>different products, requiring new facilities that may, or may not
>create compensating economic benefit?

The fact is, capitalism does NOT provide for people who want to realize
their ideas for different products, etc.  If you want to be a capitalist,
which in capitalist society is the only way you can realize an idea for
a new product, you have to find a way to get ahold of wealth created
by workers whose product was expropriated by some other capitalist.
(that is, if you're not already a capitalist yourself expropriating enough
product to take care of the new need)

You do this by convincing a bank or private investors that you are
capable of extracting enough wealth from the work of the people who
are actually going to build your product. (i.e. that you'll be able to
actually
sell the product at a profit after you've expropriated it from those who
actually build it)

>	You can't build circuit boards with hand tools and dynamite.

True.  But bourgeois experts said they couldn't build a canal hundreds of
miles long with hand tools and dynamite either.  The creative energy of
the masses is what socialism relies on, and people's ability to understand
how their work will benefit not only themselves, but more importantly
the whole society they are part of, now and in the future.

Their enthusiasm is not held back by the constraints of having to find
owners of wealth extracted from other workers who are willing to risk
that wealth in the hopes of extracting more wealth in the future. Doing
away with capital is an advantage therefore, not the disadvantage you
seem to conclude.

>	You can't simply compel people to work by force.

Actually, this is done all the time.  The most blatant example is the
chain gangs that they have re-instituted in the prison system of some
states.  But capitalism in general compels people to work by the
force of economic necessity, and enforces the social relations that
create this economic necessity by force of arms: the police, armed
forces, invasions of oppressed countries, etc.

>	You can't follow the pacific rim capitalist model.
>	How can the third world enter the modern economy?
>
The point of Marxism is that entering "the"modern economy is not the
goal of the proletariat, or by extension, of the oppressed peoples of the
third world.  The point of Marxism is that the class struggle specific to
"the" modern economy (capitalism, now developed into imperialism)
inevitably leads to revolution and the dictatorship of the proletariat.

The proletariat seeks to overthrow the modern economy, not to enter it.
I'm not trying to make light of the concerns that seem to underlie your
questions--that there is a world economy that, like it or not, even a
revolutionary society has to relate to one way or another.  But without
overthrowing the social relations of capital, the oppressed countries
cannot develop in a way that actually provides for the people of those
countries.

I highly recommend that you do some study on this subject.  I recommend
William Hinton's books on revolutionary China, Edgar Snow's "Red Star
Over China",  any of the pamphlets produced by revolutionary China about
the Economy, Tajai and Tajing (a model agricultural village and a model
industrial village) Perhaps others can suggest more.

Comradely,
Gina/Detroit


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