[Marxism] Walmart and Costco

rrubinelli rrubinelli at earthlink.net
Thu May 5 09:49:41 MDT 2005

Our mutual personal dislikes might or might not be entertaining for others on the list,
but they really aren't the point here.

1.  American Apparel's integrated production/distribution/retail systems are not "new"
at all, but can be traced back the integrated systems that were dominant in the US economy
from the beginning of the 20th century.  That it, the integration, now appears as "new"
is an appearance based on previous but more recent trends.   Indeed the "higher" wage
rates paid by American Apparel in production are higher only in relation to the sweatshop
rates.   At the Los Angeles factory, avg wages are $8/hr, or enough to keep the working poor
the working poor.

2. Objective?  The objective trend is not about one or two companies with little specific
economic gravity.  The "objective" is the overall needs of profit.  This "emerging trend" is
a little bit like telling me Democrats are hesitant to support Bush's Social Security hatchet
job, Democrats are unsure about Bush's foreign policy, Democrat's are uneasy with
attacks on civil liberties, judges, voting rights, etc.  So what?  None of that really matters.

Their unease is irrelevant.  The emerging "new trend" or "sector" is insignificant given the
needs of capital.

3. Objectively you are wrong.  Not every wage increase cuts into profits by definition. 
Marx exposed that argument for the fraud it is in his works on the Corn Laws, the 10 hours
bill, etc.

4.  Wage rates differ among and for production workers, and non-production workers,
performing the same task in the same industry but for different owners, or even the same
owners but in different parts of the country, not to mention different countries.  Your mistake
exactly mirrors that of political economists in general, and individual capitalists-- i.e. he, she,
they think they are trying to realize their personal profit, the surplus value that they, he, she, has
personally expropriated during production.  No such thing occurs in the markets. 

It is the total realizable profit that is being apportioned in the exchanges of the market.  This
is where a general rate of profit, apportioned specifically, is "solidified" so to speak.

5.  Distorting the economy, reliance on credit?  Internal cash flows in the petroleum industry
are the highest; and reliance on credit is hardly a distortion of the economy, unless one thinks
finance capital is an anomaly, an aberration, a distortion of capital.  Deformation, distortion is
the US economy.  That's what capital is-- and in that deformation the real dominant trend, one
that puts Europe and the rest of the world on the US clock is made manifest.

-----Original Message-----
From: "Carlos A. Rivera" <cerejota at optonline.net>
Sent: May 5, 2005 10:36 AM
To: Activists and scholars in Marxist tradition <marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu>
Subject: Re: [Marxism] Walmart and Costco

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