[Marxism] Re: Problems and Realities 3

sartesian sartesian at earthlink.net
Sun Apr 23 07:13:42 MDT 2006


That's odd, or not, I kind of like council communism, but have never
cared much for  LG's economic presentations.  His analyses are based
primarily  on a concept of  "fictitious capital"  that originates and
concludes that "fictitious" capital is the permanent, constant,
determining feature of modern capitalism, and not episodic, itself
derived from overproduction.  The problem with that, at least for me, is
that there's no way of distinguishing good times for capital from bad.
So we're always awaiting the collapse.

Anyway, mostly I disagree with his points-- I find the post 2000
recovery driven by increased rates of exploitation of labor; severe
restrictions on capital spending; reduction in real unit costs of
production based on reduced spending on both "variable" and "constant"
capital.

I don't think it, capital, is a house of cards, and I don't think the
parallel is to the 1970s-- or at least not so if we're expecting world
markets to go into the tank.  After all, capitalism did not go into the
tank during the 1970s; the bourgeoisie unleashed their assault on the
workers, on living standards; OPEC dollars were recycled into increased
fixed capital investment in the US; and then along came Volcker and
Reagan, and the assault  intensified and was expanded to include  the
dismantling of the "excess" fixed investment.  So maybe the parallel is
more closely aligned to the 1980s-- with all the misery that entails,
the "lost decade" in Latin America, the physical devastation of the
Caribbean and Central American economies-- and...Afghanistan, the
fracturing of oil prices, the Washington Consensus, Plaza Accords,
putting the bit back in the mouth of  Japan and the hammer to the Soviet
Union.

And I think the  EU, non EU Europe, Brazil, Japan, etc. are much more
vulnerable, thus the "run-up" of US debt is in reality a "flight to
safety," and there is no evidence that the US's creditors are really
uneasy with holdings of US paper.  In February,  foreign purchases of US
Treasury Issues, US backed mortgage securities, US corporate debt
soared.

I really don't think we can use debt, in itself,  as a measure of the
strength or weakness of the US consumer, or a country's economy.  We
really have to look at profits, rates of return, changes in the
composition of capital itself.


You would think that $75 barrel oil would drive producer and consumer
prices right through the roof.  But then again you  would have thought
that $40 a barrel, $50 a barrel, $60 a barrel oil would have at least
driven price indexes to the third or fourth floor.  Didn't happen.
Because this phase of capitalist overproduction didn't allow or need
such inflation to maintain rates of return, rates of exploitation, and
the redistribution of profits.

 "Collapse,"  "crisis," are critical, necessary, essential to the
preservation of capital.  Collapse and crisis are not its overthrow.
The "tanking" of capitalism really is, or will be, a function workers'
revolution.


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Louis Proyect" <lnp3 at panix.com>
>
> Speaking of such questions, this message from Loren Goldner showed up
on
> LBO-Talk and PEN-L. Goldner is a "council Communist"--not my cup of
> tea--but he is a fairly smart guy especially on economics.
>





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