- Capitalism and Alternatives -


Posted by: Red Deathy ( Socialist party, Uk ) on July 01, 1999 at 15:33:18:

In Reply to: it was comprehensiive, shame about the ending posted by Gee on July 01, 1999 at 13:35:12:

:Observe some large electronic companies like Philips, GEC and shrinkaholic Siemens - not only do they shrink, they increasingly contract with smaller companies to supply bits.

But Siemens has been *forced* to shrink, they closed their North East plant here because the Market was flooded, with teh loss of Workers' jobs. All you're positing, really, is that the solutions I outlined can regain profits, which they can, but they hurt the workers first and foremost. And in the end, they are attempts to stave off an Iceberg. What matter most to a firm, is staying *ahead* of the competition. To fall behind may mean death. Finding a safe niche away from competition is good in teh short-term, but when demand disappears from under you, then you need to try and grow to survive, diversify and expand, etc.

: A little obsessed with 'growth' when high returns means success in attracting capital, where size doesnt matter quite so much.

Size of returns does, and ever greater returns are needed to stay ahead of the rivals, and keep paying the shareholders lots.

: You say 'capitalim cant avoid it' but companies can, and do. Most examples of gorss over production (food, cars etc) are strongly linked to interventions of force - CAP in Europe, motor vehicle industry protections in Japan, USA and Europe.

No, that where overproduction has been *sustained* by the Government for various reasons, when it happens in a free market, the firm contracts, jobs are lost, and chaos temporarilly ensues, overproduction does not last long. It can't, its desperately unprofitable.

: Notably thr latter

Which ends up meaning the former.

: All markets are niche like, except those where the product is identical (eg bananas) - thats where your troubles come. take perfumes - and whilst the market is for perfume, all the products try and differentiate, become niche like. Niches grow out of product differentiation and innovation.

But their 'niche' depends very much on kleeping their price competetive. A small hike in prices can see people shifting to anotehr brand because it likes their pocket more.

: not where the wages form a small part of overall costs. Even where the ratio of wage to profit becomes wider the wage can be going up very impressively (eg software).

Supply and dmenad, tehre is a shortage of computer tech types (least here there is/was).

:Lowe wages does produce higher profits (ceteris paribus) but the market rate for the kind of labor needed means just lowering wages doesnt work - there are not sufficient workers of the skills needed around.

Yes, the usual trick is to lay off, and increase the work load of the remainder, without increasing wages.

: However the interpretation that this is a crisis and that production is too high is looking it the wrong way round, instead of supressing successful production its better to match it with exchangable value.
But thats pricely our point, that eventually production exceeds the capacity to conume (because private Capitalists cream off much of the income from production). It is Capital that stops production, in order to re-assert scarcity, our aim is not to do that, but to free that potential for abundance creation.

:If egalitarians looked at it this way I might be more open to it, but I usually hear arguments amounting to 'stop it all' which simply reduces global wealth and like it or not, that is not what people are showing interest in with their effective demand.

We don't want to stop it, we think that it is capitalism itself that provides an artifical limit, that means that we can't supply everyone's needs, remove this limit, and we can. the limit being teh private gain of a few.

It should be that workers instead of impoverishing themselves by working hard, can actually have time off, luxury, relaxation as a reward for hard work. By handing control of production voer to teh consumers, it means that the inherent crisis and artifical scarcity would end.

: Hence my distaste for nationalism and national politics. The net difference is a loss of capital, but you end up with a bigger share of a smaller pie.

But the Pie then has more room for expansion. We feel teh same way about war. Waste of resources. Desctruction of wealth and slaughter of humans.

: The working class recovers pretty well too, I know Ive said it time and time before but compare a working class household now with one from 1899. you cannnot argue they suffer unless you say they 'suffer' in terms of money volume difference with the exceptionally rich.

I can, because 20 million people in Europe (2 million in britain) are permenantly unemployed, sometimes up to three generations in a familly without a Job. Its soul destroying.

: More value is added, and cyclically bolstered by innovation among other things.

How is more value added, machines just transfer value already stored in them into the product, and less value is added by labour- hence why mechanisation lowers the cost of products.

: Nothing wrong with that. Should a bridge fall once it has been made? Its value is in its utility to others, the value in creating a machine is in its usefulness plus longevity, all for $395.95

Thats its use value, we were talking exchange value. big difference.

: More value (utility to consumers)

Use value. Capitalists don't give a damn about use value, they want exchange value. I perhaps, should have been more precise.

:is added, if you mean that many products (eg videos) are cheaper in terms of exchange value then all the better for a consumer who now has to work one week for a video, rather than a month.

Yes, good for consumers, but unfortunately consumers don't matter in this model, its bad for producers, who go out of business and lay off workers. Thats the big problem.

: Doesnt really counter that unit profit can and does go up for soem prods, and down for others - its not a universal law.

The aim is to lower the unit cost.

: Except they are not as we see below. It may mean no more money wrench factory line work, but the 'scrap heap' is eagerly petitioned by other employers. hence what I said about McJobs in the original post.

And that 'scrap heap' is used to force wages down overall. And now, there are many who are utterly beyond employement. Instead of reaping the rewards of our industry, we are being made to suffer it, tech is *perceived* as a threat (Marx covers this in Capital).

: People who 'help break a strike' by working for a lower wage than the strikers send an importany challenge to the strikers in questioning the validity of their demands, pretty much "if Im happy to do it what do you expect"

Unfortunately in the past, that has included employers paying racial minorities, and women much less, because they were more desperate, and willing to work for less. A union would turn round a say 'you may not need a familly wage, don't you want higher wages?'. Wages have fallen through the floor...

:throwing bricks at their cars and through their home windows displays the frustration of strikers in essentially saying "you must sacrifice yourself for me".

And themself, by solidarity we all gain, scabs hurt everyone.

:Valid strikes are those where no one else is remotely happy to work for them, then the employer is sent a message that they have got it all wrong and better buck up their ideas etc.

But where there are desperate people who will work for peanuts, we cannot organise such a strike.

: It was disappointing to read this assertion after I had shown that companies dont automatically grow until they burst,

I didn't say they did, i offered escape routes- all of which you recounted in one form or another, and all of which pass the harm onto the working class.

:that machines dont destroy all peoples wages and that exchangable value doesnt have some pre-detemined ceiling

You didn't proove the latter, and its quite clear that machines *have* destroyed jobs, because great industrial centres here have been devastated, and where once thousands worked, hundreds do, and unemplotyment rates run at 25%.

: I would be interested to know the source of this model and its current application and analysis because I think its far too narrow to be applied universally.

It is at the *base* of any industrial production, as I attempted to show above, all your responses show is the actual tactics that firms use to avoid death by overproduction, which i maintain is damaging to wider society, and an artifical barrier.

: You might successfully apply it to one industry sector or some company casestudies but it doesnt really extend to global economic activity.

I think I've shown it does, because it is the *underlying* logic of production. Your cases of shrinkage, or outsourcing are 8responces* to that logic.

I don't feel that anywhere you have demonstrably shown my model to be flawed (you have to reember, it must always be looked at from the producers perspective, you shift perspective to different groups, etc.).

Follow Ups:

  • jawol Gee si July 01 1999 (2)
    • Nein! Ach! Red Deathy Socialist Party UK July 01 1999 (1)

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