- Capitalism and Alternatives -

Nein! Ach!

Posted by: Red Deathy ( Socialist Party, UK ) on July 01, 1999 at 18:22:04:

In Reply to: jawol posted by Gee on July 01, 1999 at 17:24:59:

: The people who benefit from all this is the consumers, getting better and better utility giving items for less and less of their net salary.

Irrelevent. That *bad* for the producer, and they are the ones who are important here.

: Siemens people lose their jobs that month, 1000s are soaked up quietly all over the country in other jobs.

Averages, different people may re-gain jobs, the people sacked by Siemens may not. But I'll not go into this. As you say, we've been here before.

: Current unemployment rates in the UK are holding at 4.5%, lowest for many years, it been hanging between 4 and 4.5% in the USA and hourly earning rates are increasing by an average of arounf 0.2, 0.3% a month. I am sure that there are towns where unemployment is at 25%.

Regions more like- compare that with unemployment in the 50's & 60's.

: Greater returns relative to competitors is an advantage, doesnt mean you have to grow. Dividing up the profist among shareholders is a function of profit over the number of shares, doesnt have to be big.

No, but there always needs to be more- another way- more must come out of the system than goes in.

: Good job it *never* happens to all firms at once

Not all at once, but it can actually occur across a broad range of industries roughly at the same time, which has knock on effects to others (I overproduce cars, then lots of engineering firms feel my cutbacks, as do mechanics, accessory firms, food firms whose produce is bought by the employees in these now leaners firms- its a domino effect.). If it was isolated, we wouldn't see cyclical crises spread across the *whole* economy.

: hence the consistency of global growth in economically exchanged value.

usually the whole ecobnomy contracts for a while, and then grows some more.

: They do have to keep competitive but what it allows is not small slices of a cake, but the growth of the whole, say, perfume cake by growing slices in and of themselves (ie not by beating others to the static demand, but by stimulating it)

No, eventually they must muscle in on each other, when their milk cow runs dry, when they hit the limits of their niche, etc.

: The workload being increased with tools rather than whips, although I am sure some stupid companies try the latter and are repaid with very high staff turnover and lower profits. the laid off workers becoming part of that 4.5% consistent rate?

Pretty much- but during periods of high unemployment staff turn over is low, because workers haven't really got the option of going else-place. Gotta cling onto the jobs they have.

: that capital 'creamed off' doesnt sit in the corner, its invested again in new production which supplies the exchange value required for the relative equilibrium.

No, some is saved, some spent on Luxury, teh private incomes of the rich- they can only buy so much- some ( a lot) is left unspent, and cannot and willnot ever be spent.

: Ive described above the only way a capitalist can stop the engine (by destroying capital, or the next worst thing, making lousy investments). If your truck is with a small group of individuals being able to foul up and destroy capital then Im listening, if its with the existence of capital then it doesnt make sense.

No, because capital, under teh Law of No Profit No production, necessarilly cuts back production when abundance is reached, because it *cannot* realise a profit. This is inherent to its nature. They don't 'destroy' capital, they just don't (and can't) invest it, because its not profitable (or they do invest in speculation, gambling, etc.).

: A modern worker in the west has about 4 weeks hols a year of which, say, two can be spent sunning in Italy.

Indeed, but effectively we could all work for only half a year, a three day week, say. thats the luxury I'm talking about.

: The only thing consumers dont control is whats on the menu, that has be 'guessed' at by producers, and they guess quite well.

Which is *exactly* the problem, which can be overcome by the consumers controling the menu.

: I make it around 1.5 million (quick calc on UK work age population and 4.5% rate) but the point is the same, its a helluva lot of people and its soul destroying. Are there any really good (ie unbiased) studies of who is unemployed and why (including analysis of the voluntary unemployment of supported spouses etc) ? Perhaps I shall go on a net hunt.

Perhaps, but it seems to be clumpy- some regions (Liverpool, Teeside, Newcastle, Lancashire), particulalry those with old style heavy industry, seem to be suffering it most, inner cities. Like I say- three generations. All I can say- try going to lancaster job centre. ;)

A comrade told us about when he left school in teh 60's, went to the labour exchange, got a job, decide by lunch-time he didn't like it, went and got another. not possibble now.

: More value in exchange, more utility in use. Not all prods, not 'none' either, ie there is no universal rule here.

No, machines cannot *add* exchange value, they can increase use value, but not necessarilly (assuming teh same item is produced, just quicker). If I can use machines to make 10 footballs an hour where humans used to make 5, I've halved my exchange value- unless I produce a *new* product that requires the machines, and requires lots of added value, I'm not creating exchange value.

: Except that the same consumer spends his other 3 weeks on otehr goodies, more demand elsewhere.

No, because the consumers are being laid off, having wages restricted, etc. This *cuts* overall demand. Marx puts it 'the last cause of all economic crisies is the tendancie of capital to expand the forces to production to teh absolute consumptive limit of society, as compared with the restricted means of the masses' (Or words to that effect).

: It has to be job specific, a large amount of ex-mechanics dont directly reduce wages for PC programmers (they do indirectly by having less demand and creating less exchangebale value whilst unemployed - which most dont remain for long but some, as you say, do)

Or lower the cost of wages at the base, which can be used to cut the cost for ebveryone- or they can be trained up to escape unemployment (put into a new industry).

: Wages are for labor, they are not for your family and other responsibility, that leaves such at a disadvantage comapred to the one who works for less - but that is no reason to exclude that one.
Not excluding him, we're asking them to work for a higher rate than they otherwise would. Can't see why they wouldn't unless the alternative is not working at all- back to unemployment.

. Many hard working people suffer when made to sacrifice themselves on the altar of solidarity with people whose interest does not include him.

No, if the strike is successful, it means the workers have more money, and can bouy up the economy better, and if it fails, it might devastate that persons home town- or leave them in a workplace with no union protection nor rights.

: I am showing that it does not, that the only ones to suffer are the minority who get isolated from the labor market by being unable to adapt to change, the solution to this is stasis, arrested development.

No, teh solution is for people to be able to decide their own change, and not have it thrust upon them, and it doesn't just hurt those who won't adapt, it hurts everyone, because, in the end, capital will fight to save its scrawny neck.

: Some jobs, not all jobs - not even a net loss as proportion.

Not a net loss? Then where does the static unemployment pool come from? There are less jobs available, less skilled paying jobs, and certainly less productive jobs.

: And develop new wealth for increased exchanges, globally.

After contraction, yes.

: I believe that I have, in showing that the expected outcomes of ever increasing unemployed and industrial collapse, wasted inactive capital are not occuring, the opposite is.

I never predicted collapse. Further, I refer you to the graph of rate of profit, which, whilst growing atm, is no where near what it was in the 1960's. Anyhow, we've had this thread before, lets end here and return anotehr time....

Follow Ups:

The Debating Room Post a Followup