[Marxism] The Roots of the Pale Green Shoots

S. Artesian sartesian at earthlink.net
Fri Nov 6 13:58:13 MST 2009


The problem in 2001, actually beginning with the Asian "financial" crisis of 
1997-1998, was overproduction; overproduction of the means of production of 
capital; actual real investments in new and/or improved productive capacity, 
communications, and transport.

This overproduction first became evident in the semiconductor industry 
around 1995, which of course only triggered more investment in more 
efficient productive capacity and greater output.

This investment drove the rate of return down, nowhere more acutely than in 
the oil industry which sent out its usual S.O.S to its trusty OPEC flunkees.

There was no shortage of manufacturing labor in the period leading up to 
2001; there was no shortage of manufacturing labor in the 2005-2007 period. 
There were no extended lead times for deliveries of shipments; there wasn't 
even the overloading of the transport system as occurred with the rail 
industry when the Union Pacific took over the Southern Pacific and the 
Missouri Pacific in the 90s and through its supreme arrogance, demolished 
their traffic handling expertise, and almost brought freight operations to a 
standstill in all points west of Chicago.

The 2005-2007 period is a period when US manufacturing corporations are 
doing reasonably well-- that is to say, making money based on wage-control, 
increased exports due to depreciation of the dollar, the war-- while at the 
same time  US transportation corporations are having a rather difficult time 
given the price of oil-- with autos, trucks and airlines taking the biggest 
hits.

Flush with cash, US manufacturing resumed capital spending in 2006 to mark 
the peak in the rate of return, but was never strapped for workers.

Which durable goods producers in the 2005-2007 period experienced credit 
problems?  Well I can tell you auto parts manufacturers did-- Delphi and the 
like, but did that slow down the automobile industry?  Not hardly, and 
Delphi's problems were certainly not triggered by a dearth of available 
labor, skilled or unskilled.

The only time I can recall such a thing, an increasing demand for labor in 
manufacturing and industry after 1969 in the US,  was after the recovery 
from the OPEC 1 recession of 74-75.  In the period 1976-1979, with interests 
rates extremely high, industry attempted a micro-reversal of the trend 
towards expropriation of relative surplus value through the substitution of 
machinery-- and actually hired more and paid more for labor while 
restraining capital investment to control interest expenses.  This 
contributed to the inflationary pressures in the system and we all know what 
we got next-- OPEC 2, Thatcher, Reagan, and Vulture-- I mean Volcker.


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "guava tree" <theguavatree at gmail.com>
To: "David Schanoes" <sartesian at earthlink.net>
Sent: Friday, November 06, 2009 2:11 PM
Subject: Re: [Marxism] The Roots of the Pale Green Shoots


> My conclusion remains the same; we are observing an pronounced
> increase in the time it is taking to fill orders either because of a
> short work force or in problems getting tools and materials (likely
> due to credit problems) or both. Thus the velocity of capital
> circulation drops and as a direct result, the rate of profit drops
> with it.
> --rod

I can't tell now exactly whether this is true or the reverse--

I do think the point about the short work force is a strong one as the
massive layoffs in manufacturing in the three year period of 2001-2003
are quite shocking.

Those are easy to find here:

http://www.bls.gov/iag/tgs/iag31-33.htm

And the fact that manufacturing labor was not available as orders came
in in 2005-2007 does seem to point towards unfilled orders rising
precipitously in my head at least.

wouldn't potential problems in the work force and credit problems
(disputed by S.Artesian) also point towards a problem in the rate of
profit in manufacturing around 2001--a crisis that results in mass
layoffs?

Will have to do more research around this area

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