[Marxism] Re: State capitalism -- addition

Octob1917 at aol.com Octob1917 at aol.com
Sat Dec 18 04:58:21 MST 2004


In a message dated 12/16/2004 6:19:43 PM Pacific Standard Time, 
suarsos at alphalink.com.au writes:
But one reason we have a  health system is because employers need workers
to remain able to work efficiently. Marx explains the higher wages paid to
skilled workers in terms of the extra labour that goes into producing and
reproducing labour power. Which includes the social wage.

This is debatable. Your use of Marx as an example to explain the welfare 
state is tenuous at best. The reproduction of labour power which Marx formulated 
was based on wages, not on benefits handed down to workers by the state. Marx 
never predicted the ability of European states to intervene and in effect 
prevent revolutions with the introduction of subsidised, low income housing, 
unemployment benefits, healthcare, etc.. Again, this was all outside of Marx's 
vision, and in large part explains why revolutions never took place in Britain 
(1926 notwithstanding) and the US during the depression.


You write:

It's true that some social programs are set up in response to unrest, but
unrest was hardly unheard of in the eastern block. 


Reply:

Any unrest in Eastern Bloc was due to factors such as desire for Western 
style freedoms, or perceived freedoms. Again, I think you've used a false 
comparison here. 


You write:

The attacks on the welfare state began before the collapse of the USSR. It
began here as early as 1975. But despite these attacks, the "social wage"
remains huge today, long after the demise of the USSR. In Australia, for
example, they privatised most of welfare. But that doesn't mean they don't
spend money on it.


Reply:

You first begin by stating that attacks on the welfare state in Australia 
began before collapse of Soviet Union, then go on to say that the social wage 
remains huge, that it's merely been privatised. So, from your statement, the form 
not the substance has changed. The fact that the 'social wage' remains extant 
speaks to the fact that the ruling class knows how far they can go, that the 
workers aren't about to give up easily that which they've gained. The ability 
of the workers to hold onto these gains varies from nation to nation due to a 
number of factors and differing objective conditions. In the US, for example, 
the Labor Movement and class consciousness is very weak, whilst in France the 
opposite is true. Perhaps others may like to offer their own theories as to 
why this is the case. My opinion is that the US ruling class successfully split 
the working class using, first race, then the fear of the Soviet Union, as a 
wedge.

Joe 



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