- Capitalism and Alternatives -

Thanks for the Bravo Zulu, but...

Posted by: Frenchy on February 15, 19100 at 13:20:55:

In Reply to: Communist 'trade' posted by Barry Stoller on February 11, 19100 at 19:45:17:

: : From my understanding, the Brits took raw materials out of America and re-exported them back as finished products. Is that capitalism too?

: As long as the Brits were having raw materials (constant capital) processed by WAGE-laborers (variable capital) to produce a profit (surplus value, or labor-power producing more than what it requires for survival / reproduction), then the criteria for capitalism has been met.

Stoller, I hope you don't get real pissed, but constant value, variable value and their resultant surplus value have no objective meaning other than to justify Marx's own envy of other people's wealth and how to appropriate it. He (Marx) may have been his intellectual giant in some areas, but nearly everyone was his social superior, a fact which was his cross to bear.

: Mercantilism would simply be buying, say, (finished) silk from one country and selling it (at a higher price) to another.

: The difference: mercantilism is buying cheap and selling high whereas capitalism is paying labor-power less than what it produces.

Conclusion true if the premises are true. C+V+S.V. though...

: : I know that the Spaniards took precious metals, primarily, out of the new world to fill their treasury believing that this was 'wealth'.

: No production process, no capital.
: : OK, let's shift gears. 100 years hence. Socialism is universal. Inter-country and inter-continental trading has survived societal upheavals. In the absence of capitalism, how do some countries, especially those that today cannot offer anything but raw materials to the rest of the world, deal w/ other countries that are more developed? Won't the more developed nations set some sort of 'fair'price on commodities from the less developed nations?

: What a great question!

: Why do the classic Marxists---including Marx---presuppose various nations trading materials at their real value? I believe this assumption is based upon the (Marxist) truism that, even under capitalist relations, materials are exchanged at their true value (the profit, remember, stems from paying labor-power less than what it produces). To raise a price above its real value is to only invite others to do so as well (negating the original advantage):



: The industrial capitalists themselves consume one part of their product (or profit). They cannot possibly enrich themselves by swindling themselves and selling their products to themselves at a dearer price than they themselves have paid for them. Nor can any one of them swindle the others in this way. If A sells his product, which the industrial capitalist B consumes, at too dear a price, then B sells his product, which the industrial capitalists consumes, at too dear a price. It is the same thing as if A and B had sold their products to each other at their real value.(1)

: (And the other catagories---capitalists selling to laborers + capitalists selling to idle gentry---are explained in due fashion as well...)

Idle gentry...now, now,...

: NONETHELESS it is also a (Marxist) truism that less productive labor-power must meet the lower prices of more productive labor-power. That is how the advanced countries get the better of the less developed ones in trade: the labor-power of undeveloped countries is always less productive, hence it must put out more to meet its obligations to more advanced countries.

: BUT the whole communist idea DEMANDS a high level of industrialization for ALL countries. It also demands that labor ceases to be bought and sold, thus mitigating the trade inequities of the past.

That demand, that all countries reach a high level of industrialization can't be met except by the entreprenuer and today's risk capital. And even if these were available in all countries, not all countries have the citizentry to transform mere materials and ideas into useable products of high quality.

: But to get down to the nitty-gritty of your question, Frenchy, a communist planned economy demands that such national chauvinisms become eradicated as laborers worldwide take control of production. There is an element of faith here and you, rather shrewdly, have discovered that...

OK, do you see the 'one world' impetous as a possible curtain raiser for eradicating nationalism? If loyalty to one's country is bad (as I'm assuming your saying it is) why then would loyalty to one world government be good? Wouldn't those feelings of loyalty then be simply transferred to another group of men, and let's not forget that men make horrendous mistakes regardless of the shoulder patch they wear, and we'd be back at square one?

: Your suspicions are well-founded and would be well-heeded by communists in order to PREVENT such situations from arising.

: Again: great question!
: _______________

: Note:

: 1. Marx, Theories of Surplus-Value volume one, Progress Publishers 1963, p. 272.

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