Jurriaan Bendien bendien at
Mon Sep 22 05:09:58 MDT 2003

Tom said:

"This is why the Marxist approach isn't primarily about redistributing
income, but about redistributing control of the productive process."

I agree with that, in fact in New Zealand I used to have a (slightly campy)
button with a slogan "we don't just want a bigger slice of the cake, we want
the whole damn bakery".

But there are some important implications of which you should be aware,

(1) if you get an enormous shift of net income from the poor to the rich, as
has occurred in the last quarter century, then a greater proportion of
wealth will be expended by the owners of capital (plus their hangers-on) on
luxury consumption and armaments.

(2) my own economic analysis says that the "accumulate, accumulate"
imperative mentioned by Marx must be made more specific by looking at the
type of activity engaged in for the purpose of accumulation, and if we do
that, we see that an increasing amount of capital is tied up in
non-productive activity, i.e. activity which operates the transfer of
financial claims and property rights, not tangible production or the
expansion of tangible production of anything.

(3) The best way to apply Marx's reproduction schemes analysis in terms of
"Department 1" and Department 2" is to the world economy as a whole, and of
course we need to add a "Department 3" (luxury consumption) and a
"Department 4" (military spending) and a "Department 5" (fictitious
capital). What I am trying to say here is, that the specific economic
function and role of the capital being used to accumulate more capital is
very important to understand. Thus for example, Kidron's, Vance's and
Mandel's concept of permanent war economy should be made to do some real

(4) If we as socialists argue "we don't just want a bigger slice of the
cake, we want the whole damn bakery" then we must also be prepared to help
run/organise/manage the bakery, and wanking on about "reformism" just evades
the real issue at stake in this context. In New Zealand, multi-millionaire
property developer Bob Jones frankly admitted that just because you
privatise a public service, this doesn't mean that it is better managed, if
corporate directors run it for shareholders instead of public servants
running it for taxpayers. Likewise, just because socialists manage a public
service doesn't automatically mean that it is better managed. Therefore
socialists need organisational theory, management theory, financial policy,
and they shouldn't just think that a few quotes from Lenin will do the

One of the most fascinating delusions of bourgeois society is that people
get very concerned about the value of their stocks and shares, and the
returns from those investments, but as regards how the government spends
their tax money, is something they don't care much at all about, or at any
rate much less. Quantitatively considered, this is rather insane.



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