- Capitalism and Alternatives -

Amused to death

Posted by: Stoller on September 30, 1999 at 10:35:32:

In Reply to: amused posted by Gee on September 29, 1999 at 18:43:25:

Amused to death

SDF: 1) I thought capital was what you needed to run a business. Is the point here that computers have provided cheaper accounting services for business or cheaper
advertising for business? Don't computers just allow big businesses to get bigger, at the point in a business' growth when accounting costs start to loom large?

BS: With me so far?

SDF: No.

SDF is more than familiar with Marx's argument on the tendency for profit to fall and, as I recall, has many an issue with that point---which is fair enough by me considering his numerous intelligent reasons. I simply was putting out the concept again with some current observations. Yes, big businesses are getting bigger with their increased capital, they must, or perish (and plenty are---ever heard of 'mergers'?). They also compensate for their new investment costs by squeezing labor---which brings the topic around again to my original emphasis.

Gee: The notion that 'workers spend what they get and capitalists get what they spend' suggests that capitalist[s] are getting less and less, because less and less is going to workers, as more and more is going into so called 'dead labor'.

This is nonsense, as SDF pointed out.

Gee: Capital intensive companies should be dying like flies. Except they're growing like summer flowers.

All successful capitalist concerns are capital-intensive. It's the little proprietor unhip to the 'information revolution' (etc.) who capital crushes like a fly. My point is that the intensification of capital (dead labor) is reducing capital's need for living labor but because value is only produced by living labor, capital's profits are consistently lowered---which renews capital's attack upon labor.

Gee: The living standard of said workers continues to 'drop' as evidenced by ever (in general) relatively cheaper goods, more access to mass communications, medicine, cheaper holidays, better housing, safer everything, massive entertainment capacity, increasing actual leisure time, labor saving devices (linked to the leisure time increase) and so forth, all things I have actually heard people have the gall to disparage as 'trinkets'.

What planet are you from? Let's see some specific citations. Even the New York Times interpreted the new Statistical Abstract of the United States as confirming the 'gap between rich and poor [is] substantially wider' (5 September 1999, sec. A, p. 14). And as far as leisure goes, ever heard of Juliet Schor?

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