- Capitalism and Alternatives -

What's the use...

Posted by: bill on December 25, 1999 at 00:48:51:

In Reply to: Going over the obvious posted by Stoller on December 24, 1999 at 10:28:14:


: The more circulation costs increase, the more profits are reduced. The more profits are reduced, the more labor costs (per commodity) must be reduced in order to regain the previous rate of profit. Reducing labor costs is accomplished by either increasing the productivity of machinery to the point where workers are displaced---or by squeezing labor directly.

: It is NO SOLUTION to have displaced production sphere workers find jobs in the circulation sphere.

: The MORE circulation costs increase (with the increased need for circulation), the LESS value is received from the production process.* This contradiction cannot continue indefinitely. The mode of production under the social relations of capital poses an intrinsic and intransigent contradiction: production sphere labor and capital (AS WELL AS circulation sphere workers) are opposed. To be more precise: circulation work---as well as workers---act as a parasite upon the use-values created in the production sphere.

: To minimize the antagnonisms between production sphere workers and circulation sphere workers, I call for UNSKILLED workers in both spheres to recognize their COMMON INTEREST---which is receiving the skill to improve their jobs, their lives and their class interests.

[end note]
"... Because circulation of completed commodities doesn't create value, all circulation can do (in its useful---but not use-value creating---circuit) is to drain off value from the commodity."


I think more might be said about use-value in light of today's value structure. While modes of production may determine social relations, and the ruling values of a society are the ideas of the ruling class, this would also filter down to what are considered use-values. Now I'm not talking about food and shelter or the basic necessities of life. I don't know what percentage of the "productive" output of modern capitalism is devoted to these basics - but I suspect it would be a relatively small percentage.

The "circulation" sphere has become the tail that wags the dog.

The medium is the messege. Beauty, like the package, is the sell. It's as though Nike's shoe is the mined ore - the manufacturing (advertising) is done abroad in Seattle. The advertisement is not simply the distributional process of circulation but a product with its own (psychological) "use-values". And then there is of course the "use-values" of everything from the "terminator gene" to B-2 bombers.

Of course the internal mechanisms of capitalist exploitation exist (as you noted) in both spheres. But the overthrow of this exploitative political-economy, while laudable, is only half the battle. After all, who needs worker-owned and controlled B-2 or "terminator gene" factories? I don't want a slice of THAT pie.

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