labour aristocracy

loupaulsen at loupaulsen at
Mon Feb 3 09:43:29 MST 2003

> In other words there is more capital invested in the
> imperialist countries and a greater rate of
> exploitation and profit follows from that fact.
> capital investment, underinvestment in fact, is the
> prevailing social reality in much of the former
> colonial world and a low rate of profit is the result.

WAIT a minute.  Why are you confusing the AMOUNT of capital invested in the
imperialist countries vs. the oppressed countries with the RATE of return on
that capital?

Surely it can be the case - and I believe it IS the case - that the RATE of
profit is higher on the capital invested in the oppressed countries is higher
than in the imperialist countries.  By the way, when you are talking
about 'underinvestment', aren't you talking about -fixed- capital alone
(physical plant) and ignoring -variable- capital (costs of labor-power)?

Actually, oversimplifying somewhat, Marx argued that the rate of profit in
capitalist society overall is influenced by the 'composition of capital', that
is, the ratio of spending on 'variable capital' (labor) to 'fixed capital'
(raw materials, physical plant, machinery, etc.) specific to the actual
processes of production that are being used.  In particular, as the
composition of capital shifts more toward fixed capital (what you would
call 'greater capital investment'), the rate of profit is expected to -decline-
.  Which is to say that if there is less investment in plant and technology in
the oppressed countries, and production there is more labor-intensive, the
natural expectation of orthodox Marxism would be a higher rate of profit there.

You then go on to say:

> We might also note that Lenin's thesis that capital was
> exported to the colonies by a bourgeoisie in search of
> super profits is falisified by the simple fact that
> the imperialist states show a flow of capital between
> themselves as it is in these markets that the greatest
> sources of surplus value are to be found.

Why do you think that flows of capital investment (assuming you even know what
you are talking about here and aren't just misusing 'capital' as a synonym
for 'money') WITHIN the imperialist world have anything to do with the
question of whether there are superprofits to be made from investment in the
colonies?  You might as well argue that because blood transports food among
the cells of the body all the time, you never have to go to the grocery store.

Lou Paulsen

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