[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.  << 
 
Comment 
 
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  
curve. 

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 
writes: 
 
>> "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 
operation. 
 
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 
crisis. 
 
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 
working proletarians. 
 
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 
 
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 
hegemony. 
 
Question. 
 
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 
with themselves. 
 
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 
relation. 
 
WL.
 
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