[Marxism] Atilio Borón: From infinite war to =?win...
Waistline2 at aol.com
Waistline2 at aol.com
Sat Apr 4 16:46:20 MDT 2009
In a message dated 4/4/2009 11:00:01 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time,
_sartesian at earthlink.net_ (mailto:sartesian at earthlink.net) writes:
>> Not for nothing, but isn't it a little remarkable that the author in this
article begins by stating what the crisis is not and then in item 5, states
what it is: "It's a simultaneous crisis of overproduction and
under-consumption." and then NEVER states another word, provides any investigation, a single
example of either the overproduction or the under-consumption?
IMO, it is exactly the author's inability to investigate, analyze, and
comprehend overproduction-- which is nothing other than the overproduction of
capital, an inability that makes itself explicit in his identification of
overproduction with under-consumption, that makes the final part of his
presentation-- the what is to be done? part-- so fuzzy, even ethereal, winding up with
the appeal to regionalism, supranational integration, Petrosur, etc. <<
I agree with your sentiment and insight. Atilio Borón: "From infinite war to
infinite crisis," is a full decade or more behind the general theoretical
Characterizing this crisis as an acute stage of the general crisis of
capital - the overproduction and underconsumption conundrum, . . . only today
(!!!) without the existence of the USSR, is thin and WRONG, as a Marxist
proposition. In this lengthy article - 7758 words including footnotes, the author
>> "5. Its structural causes are well known: it’s a simultaneous crisis of
overproduction and under-consumption, the periodic capital "purification"
mechanism typical of capitalism."<<
I do not object to describing the face of the crisis as it leaps from the
new non-banking financial architecture to the "industrial and agricultural
sector" of the economy, because in the past this was often the case. This is not
to say that every financial crisis lead to a crisis in production.
Overproduction and under consumption as the cause of capital crisis, as a
thesis, is wrong ! . . . and today denies overcapacity as an expression of the
development of the productive forces, as the revolution in the productive
equipment of society accelerates the reproduction of overproduction of capital.
This excess capital is "over" what is socially necessary as a requirement for
a modest return on capital, in any branch of industry. And this rate of
return, system wide, is caught in the gravitational pull of the law of the FROP.
Incremental improvements in the productive forces and most certainly
revolutionizing production and the emergence of a new technological regime drives and
accelerates the law expressed as the FROP.
The new non-banking financial institutions - (specially the emergence of a
new technological regime post 1980), are not the result of a good idea or a
preferred policy of capital, but a necessary outgrown of the continuous
revolutionizing of the productive forces, and capital‘s response to the FROP. These
new institutions create wealth detached from the production of surplus value.
This is not speculation on probable commodity production, circulation and
realizable value expansion. Valueless wealth production is a permanent and
dominating feature of this era of capital.
Overproduction of a mass of commodities can and does take place during every
boundary of expansion of the industrial system, as it metabolizes labor on
the basis of capital reproduction. Since Marx this overproduction has been tied
to the anarchy of production or the signature of private capital in
Capital recovers on the basis of expanding the market and the conversion of
the non-producing consumer into a producer - proletariat. This process has
gone through all its stages. The stages are defined on the basis of displacing
feudalism and the construction of a real world market. This process is not and
cannot be simultaneously even in every area of the earth, but expresses the
combined and uneven development of production. As real world events this
meant the destruction of the closed colonial system - direct colonial and the
opening of the world to financial capital. At each boundary of this process
capital hit’s the wall of consumption or experienced a crisis of "anarchy of
production" - overproduction. At each stage, recovery was based on the
destruction of commodities, productive forces, bringing another mass of humanity into
the value relation as proletarians, and then a renewed incremental
development of the productive forces. This set the stage for the next outbreak of
Then something else entered the picture.
Revolution in the technological regime that ushers in the phenomena of
overcapacity, as a new permanent feature of bourgeois production. Along side of
this is the step by step lowering of the price of labor power. Intertwined with
and existing along side over capacity, is spiraling overproduction of
capital. Or capital that cannot be profitably invested into the production of
commodities, in the absolute meaning - FROP, or in the relative meaning - seeking
maximum rates of return.
If I am unable to describe in detail, sufficient to convince the most
discriminating reader, of the actual step by step process of the destruction of
value, I believe both of us share this general view in common. This is not a
general crisis of capital we are facing. What is taking place is the stage by
stage destruction of value production. There is no recovery of capital in this
era. In previous eras, capital itself recovery and expanded throughout the
world, on the basis of reforming all its political and social institutions . . .
and of course the defeat of the proletarian masses, which serves as the
political basis for expansion.
We entered the era of the so-called "jobless recovery" in the last decade of
the 20th century. Jobless recovery. Everyone speaks of jobless recovery
without pondering the profound implication this implies. Jobless recovery is
bourgeois lingo for "return to profitability without expanding the market." The
only way to expand the market is to convert flesh and blood people into
Unable to invest in production, capital invests in itself, abstracted from
production, which is impossible. Bursting bubbles . . . Lead to more bubbles
that burst and an era of valueless production of wealth emerges as the last
boundary of capital. Because of the impossibility of valueless wealth as a
production process of capital, the light at the end of the bourgeois tunnel is
government transfer of wealth. Which is of course what the Obama administration
is called forth to institutionalize.
China is caught on the horns of a dilemma and is left holding roughly 2
trillion (1.9) in US certificates: currency, notes and promises of a better
tomorrow. China cannot invest US currency into its economy. China is blocked by
the political lobby from investing in US industry. Perhaps a year or so ago the
Chinese Premier threatened to convert its US debt and currency into another
currency and Bush W. literally laughed. Even stupid ass Bush W. intuitively
understood the stupidity of such a threat. A section of American communists
spoke as if this posed a threat to the American economy. It does not. Nor will
the creation of a new regional or world currency pose an economic threat
because national currency is exchangeable in the international market and also,
because national currency only serve as a sovereign debt instrument, containing
no intrinsic value, and allowing national control of ones economy. At least
for the imperialist. Sovereign debt instruments means an instrument to make
you pay taxes. This is not to say that the formation of regional blocks and
regional currency will not pose a political threat to American imperial
Is it accurate to state that American currency cannot be invested in the
economy of Chinese?
Here is my thinking: to invest American currency in the Chinese economy, the
government of China is required to convert this currency into "Chinese
currency." Such an act immediately reveals the valueless nature of currency.
Further, why would the government of China even desire to convert American
currency into its own debt instruments for investments, when all they have to do is
print money? Stated another way, converting American currency into Chinese
currency, when done by "the Bank of China," means it is left holding the exact
same currency it had in the first damn place. No one plays three card monty
It is not as if these currencies are convertible into a species. Even if
China were allowed to invest directly in American industry, at the end of the
day it is still left with US currency, which still cannot be invested in the
Chinese economy. The only economic rationale for investing into production in
the US is for physical commodities and technological transfer which is blocked
by US policy. Chinese holdings of US Currency can purchase US goods and the
same problems appears: buttressing US capitalism.
Further, workers paid in US currency and any foreign currency in China,
cannot invest this currency in the legal economy, only the secondary "illegal"
economy. The Chinese workers foreign currency - checks, are converted into
Chinese debt instruments, and thus China is left holding the bag again.
In other words China productive capacity is used to send real goods to the
US as exports and in return China receives currency that cannot be invested in
the American economy or its own. Thus, China has been on a shopping spree in
other countries, seeking to realize tangible imports. This in turn does not
broaden its consumer market, which can only be expanded - not deepened, by
expansion of the workforce. A consumer market can be expanded by increasing
inequality or paying executives more or sections of those working higher wages.
Or have I totally missed the entire logic? Or rather illogic of the imperial
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