LOV and border controls

Chris, London 100423.2040 at compuserve.com
Thu Jun 6 04:07:00 MDT 1996


This model congrues with your descriptions of begeurlich/civil society,
where the law of value applies. But I doubt the law of value is  as
applicable to the production of nuclear arms - or pyramids, for that

Chris B:

Thanks for the opportunity to try to take this further. I will
quote a challenging but central passage from Engels' article
on the Law of Value -

>>> Sombart, as well as Schmidt, -- I mention the illustrious Loria merely
as an amusing vulgar-economist foil -- does not make sufficient
allowance for the fact that we are dealing here not only with a purely       !!
logical process, but with a historical process, and its explanatory
reflection in thought, the logical pursuance of its inner connections.

 The decisive passage is to be found in Marx, Vol.III, p.200:

     "The whole difficulty arises from the fact that commodities are not
     exchanged simply as _commodities_, but as _products of capitals_,
     which claim participation in the total amount of surplus-value,
     proportional to their magnitude, or equal if they are of equal


Now what I think this opens the door to seeing is that
while over at least 7000 years in simple commodity exchange
commodities have exchanged in proportion to their labour content,
things work differently where the production of something,
requires special arrangements claiming a portion of societies
surplus value. That is compatible with the examples you give of
on the one hand, nuclear arms, in in centralised state like
present day China, or the construction of pyramids in one of those
highly centralised states that were example of pre-capitalist
economic formations - the "Asiatic Mode of Production" catch all.

somewhere else, people are using medieval technologies.

Chris B:

Agreed. Children are weaving carpets in Afghanistan for
the culturally sensitive boutiques of the Western intelligentsia.
Or working in informal gold mines of Peru. And there has just been
a report of a landslip in Yunnan province China. The commentator
alleges the secretive nature of Chinese reporting of disasters
(not many human interest stories permitted) but says the Chinese
acknowledge that 10,000 (sic) people died in mining accidents in
China last year. They are clearly creating mineral commodities
in an environment with very different standards on the prevailing
value of labour power, and methods of production.


The world is not a level playing field - agreed. But what keeps it from
leveling out?

Chris B:

As soon as we approach Marxist economics with an assumption that
the equations are likely to work in a non-linear way, this problem
falls away. Capitalism is constantly revolutionising the means
of production. That persective was nailed to the marxist flagpost
at the time of the Communist Manifesto. This is non-equlibrium
economics. There is and can be NO level playing field by
definition. Everything is the conflict and interaction of
countervailing forces, of which capital and labour are two of
the most significant.

Stow-aways trying to get from countries with a low value of labour
power to ones with a high value of labour power, and once there,
to resist racist exploitation and persecution, are just
cockroaches scurrying to adapt, survive, and reproduce, for a little
longer before they die.

But people who call themselves marxists think their analysis of
racism stops at simplistic moral denunciations of how nasty racism is.
In fact the capitalists, *and the indigenous population*, benefit
>from an inflow of migrants, especially when it is on their terms.
Simplistic analysis is why marxists have such difficulty uniting
workers on the issues of racism and immigration.

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