Strikes in Western Europe
kbevans at panix.com
Thu May 23 08:56:30 MDT 1996
So Bonefeld and Holloway are arguing that credit is used to spur
speculation, thus creating imaginary capital. This imaginary capital then
comes due, and must be paid with more profit, or more bad debt. They see
recent credit expansion as a piling on of bad debt, rather than a freeing of
This is fine, but does not necessarily get into LTV stuff. They
hit a bump in the road when they contrast present day, and future
profit-taking and say: "..In other words, money, rather than betting on
future exploitation, has to be transformed into an effective command over
labour in the present." Exploitation whether future or present, is a
legal (command) relationship that capitalists can assume will remain in
place; he speculates about demand.
Clearly, the capitalist cannot pull the profit leash too hard or
he risks a tragic fall-off in demand. Likewise the present value of
investments require adequate demand climates. Although his speculation
can only go so far into the future before he risks a wild market,
speculative investment also has the positive effect of creating wages for
which there is no product, helping to balance the profit-taking on older
capital. This helps avoid the immediate demand crisis or "averages out"
the "recomposition of necessary and surplus value" in your terms.
Capitalists can change the composition of speculative instruments from
interest bearing, to stock, and change the average "multiple" at which
that stock is trading. Both of these seem to move the average expected
payoff of aggregate speculation farther into the future. Yet because they
result in dispersion of capitalists' funds, to those more inclined to spend
that money, they are not purely a "never-never". Furthermore a capitalist
forced to speculate farther out in time is inclined to worship at the
altar of technology. He needs a capital with a big potential up-side.
The problem I have with value analysis is that it seems to me to
demand an immediate accounting for economic activity that has yet to be
valued. I never see where the "crisis" is iminent. Rather, it seems
permanent. Where does technology, that does not always mean bigger and more
resource-hungry machines come in to the LTV view? Also, what about that
money that capitalists hide away under their Cayman Island mattresses?
Some of it, perhaps a large part, eventually comes out to play.
On the "productivist" versus true Commie issue, I think you are a
little black and white (I admit the situation in academia may require
that). I believe that labor-value is just an explanatory metaphor, and I
do think that economic progress is progress. The only problem with
Taylorism is that someone else tells you not "how" but "to" be more
efficient. If co-op industries want to work like bees, that's their
business. Still, I am no apologist for capitalism. I insist that
capitalistic accumulation must be stopped at all costs. No form of
capitalist accumulation is acceptable. One of those costs is Marxists'
creating another model and *mechanism* which can hedge and value capitals
varying distances (or is it probabilities?) into the future, against
present production and demand.
Credit is our problem too.
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