Reply to Les Schaffer

Jurriaan Bendien bendien at
Wed Sep 24 15:58:49 MDT 2003

Although I am not so keen on Sraffa's own theory (his understanding of value
is a bit primitive and crude, like most bourgeois economics, and he confuses
the rate of surplus value (where surplus-value means
interest+profit+rent+returns) with the share-out of surplus-value), your
following statement is very important:

"The input output system is level_1 feasible if dept I produces more means
of production than it consumes."

The reason is this notion of "producing more than consumes", and that is
exactly the lynchpin of the bourgeois enterprise: getting something for
nothing, and it is always a question of finding new ways of getting
something for nothing. I haven't got time to delve more deeply into the
theory of exchange now, but okay.

Next question is, "produce more" in what sense, of what ? Physical terms, or
price terms, or what ?

The hope and the whole future of bourgeois society depends lethally on being
able to find new, fresh sources of getting something for nothing in order to
expand profits. Where are these sources to be found ?

Of course we can deplete the natural environment of "free goods", or we can
through new technologies create new substances out of other substances, but
the trick in bourgeois alchemy is to get something for nothing, and you
might run out of environment to deplete, or you might run out of
technological innovations and so on.

But there is something else to plunder, new environments, for example
cyberspace, the world of ideas and so on. This is really why the
intellectual property rights issue is so important, because when there is a
mad competitive scramble to plunder the intellectual content of a person, a
community or a society, the whole thing has to be regulated. In other words,
the plundering has to be orderly, otherwise you cannot have economic
equilibrium, and without equilibrium, there's market uncertainty, and with
market uncertainty, investors will not invest.

Just how courageous the bourgeoisie currently is, can be seen from the fact
that they decide to expand investment in building houses on occupied
territory in Palestine, they dare to invest ! Wow. But notice the land
doesn't belong to them.


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