Reply to David Schanoes

Jurriaan Bendien bendien at tomaatnet.nl
Sat Aug 30 13:54:19 MDT 2003


Capital formation statistically refers to net additions to fixed assets, but
this is only a small part of capital. Actual fixed assets are a much larger
part. Then there is circulating constant capital to consider, securities,
financial claims, securities and derivatives, living labour in motion,
treasures, currency and miscellaneous funds, household assets, deposits,
potential assets, certain public assets, "human capital" (the potential
earning power of a living human organism), goodwill and futures, natural
resources owned as private property, information and knowledge, in fact
anything which can be submitted to an act of enclosure (privatisation and
private appropriation) in order to function as a source of surplus-value.

There was a Belgian Marxist Professor called Jacques Gouverneur,  who
thought simply that the flows and transactions involved in GDP conceptually
included all incomes, but that is obviously not true, we are only talking
here about new incomes generated in that sphere which is statistically
defined as being "production". I could also express myself classically but
why ? Because I prefer a ""classical" type of girl perhaps ? Dressing up
what I say with quotes and language from Marx, takes time I haven't got, I
need to look up all the relevant sources.

""Frenzied" overproduction in relation to what, exactly ?

I claim only that "uneven and combined development" can, and has, coincided
with primitive accumulation, but everything which Melvin P. imputes to me is
nonsense. I am not a follower of Ernest Mandel, I just utilise some of his
insights.  Only people with a low IQ can believe Marx has a monopoly on the
philosophers stone, or that Das Kapital is a crystal ball. Melvin P. has no
objectivity, only quotations.

I furthermore claim that Trotsky's theory of permanent revolution was not
linked to any substantive theory of the transition to socialism, just to the
notion of the dictatorship of the proletariat, that is all. That was a
massive omission in Russian Marxism.  Preobrazensky's attempt to rationalise
the exploitation and expropriation of peasants and workers with a theory of
"socialist primitive accumulation" leads him into the petty-bourgeois camp,
just as Stalin's theory of "socialist industrial accumulation" is a
petty-bourgeois theory. It is all based on hatred and contempt for the
workers and peasants. The whole economic discussion of the 1920s about
whether "socialism in one country" was possible, or not possible, is an
ideological red herring. Marx's theory of primitive accumulation was not
understood and placed in correct historical perspective, and there simply
was no theory of socialist transition. Therefore discussions about whether
socialism was possible or not in the Soviet Federation were vacuous. This is
precisely why Lenin said, at the end of his life, that he had the experience
as if driving in a car, where the steering wheel no longer responded to the
movement of his arms and hands. His theory could no longer direct him in
what he did, nor anticipate the problems he would face. There were limits to
his leadership, and he went beyond those limits.

I have no specific comment to make about primitive accumulation in Mexico, I
have not studied it yet, and cannot say yet whether I will do so. I would
have to see the relevance of it.

Whether or not prostitution or sex slavery represents original (primitive)
accumulation or not, depends on the given case. I do not claim that all
prostitution is primitive accumulation, but it can function that way. It
depends on the social relations involved, the type of use-value produced,
and on the economic consequences of the prostitution. Usually Marxists talk
about prostitution, as if it is just one type of thing. This is not true.
For advanced players, there are many different types of prostitution.

If capitalist social relations break down, and some fascist barbarian
plunders the bodies and property of other people, then this is a source of
primitive accumulation, which helps to revive capitalism. Furthermore, once
it is revived, the expansion of the fascist empire can expropriate and
enslave fresh regions, through new acts of original accumulation, whereby
the producer is separated from the means of production, the means of
production privately appropriated, and the producer enslaved.

In general, I think I will distinguish in future between "original
accumulation" and "primitive accumulation", where original accumulation
refers to the general theory whereby the initial stock of capital is arrived
at, whereas "primitive accumulation" refers to the special case Marx refers
to, involving separation.

Jurriaan








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