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(en) France, Alternative Libertaire AL #279 - Marx or Keynes ? The development of capitalism is no longer epoch (fr, it, pt) [machine translation]

Date Thu, 1 Mar 2018 09:12:44 +0200

The Keynesian left goes astray, believing that the crisis of investment and activity results from the simple greed of the holders of capital. It is not enough to move the masses of money from tax havens and securities portfolios to the state and wages to stem this crisis. It is the capitalist system that must be challenged. ---- After thirty years of exceptionally strong growth in the wake of - or because of - World War II, the economy turned around in the capitalist economies of the late 1970s. The latter then began to decline for many decades. The radical left attributes this situation to the ideological shift operating in the 1980s under the name of " neoliberalism ". ---- According to this left, the ruling class would have set up a vast financial system whose purpose would have been to capture the collective wealth at the expense of productive investment, employment and wages. The flight of capital into speculation would then deprive society of its resources and the State of its room for maneuver, irresistibly generating debts and deficits. For their part, the liberal parties in power would mask the reality of this shareholder coup d'etat, replacing the sempiternal denunciation of social costs. Judged too high, they would cut the employers of the means to play their social role of creator of wealth.

Irretrievably doomed to crises
Marx has developed a theory of capitalism that makes it possible to vigorously challenge this reading of events. Liberal and social-democratic critics are similarly false. According to him, capitalism is irremediably destined to crises whose intensity must necessarily reach, at certain times, unsustainable levels. His analysis involves the " wealth " of " work ".

However, contrary to an all too common interpretation, it is not a question of wealth and work in the general sense but of their specifically capitalist form, as it is carefully stated in the first chapter of Capital . The author establishes that " capitalist wealth " represented by " goods " and represented in " money " depends on the " amount of labor power " spent on manufacturing.

This type of wealth grows when this type of work also grows. The work in question here is the " abstract labor " reduced to a simple quantitative expense of muscle strength, nerve and brain as opposed to the " real work " quality, which refers to technical skills. This quantification by the abstract " time " of work is the objective element of the commensurability of the goods and thus bases their exchangeable character on the market.

However, each particular capitalist strives to reduce the amount of labor involved in the production of his own goods in order to improve his position in the competition. We can imagine what would become of the

value and money if all production was fully automated: it would result in a world where the socializing function of the merchant exchange would no longer play. In the current technological context, the overall increase in work has become insufficient. For their part, emerging economies whose production relies on technical devices lower than those of the advanced economies do indeed involve more human labor, but on the basis of precarious wages confined to slavery.

The downward trend in the rate of profit, a well-known central motive for Marxism, reflects the relative problems of the increasing technological replacement of human labor. The extension and deepening of capitalist relations can slow down this decline. Similarly, the reduction of salary costs and the lengthening of the working day. Another way out is the massive devaluation of capital which, after having caused the criminal devastation of civilization through great crises and wars, allows a new cycle to begin.

Bankruptcy is only postponed

The situation has become critical again, we said. Indeed, the microelectronic revolution that took place at the turn of the 1970s-1980s tipped the system of accumulation of value into inextricable difficulties. An ever greater amount of capital has been idle, which has pushed the capitalist intelligentsia to implement the famous financialization of the economy. Its function was to drain the savings made available to concentrate it and try to assign it to more or less promising industrial and commercial activities. Having learned from the failures of the past in crisis management and fearing their disastrous social and political consequences, Financial engineering has been sophistication sophistication to push the diagnosis of bankruptcy as far as possible. The expansion of globalization and free trade will not suffice.

In the context of monetary interventions based on the manipulation of interest rates or the purchase of public and private bonds, credit and indebtedness have been able to swell in such extravagant and unseen dimensions, fueling speculative bubbles fueled market production. US public debt now exceeds $ 20 trillion and China's debt accounts for 250 % of its GDP ! The growth of this beginning of the millennium could be doped in a totally artificial way. But thus, and contrary to the speeches of the left-wing parties, finance has not been the enemy of a fundamentally healthy trading order; it turned out to be a providential crutch, and for that reason represents a blunt condemnation of capitalism itself.

Regulation illusions

The Keynesian left goes astray, believing that the crisis of investment and activity results from the simple greed of the holders of capital. It is not enough to move the masses of money from tax havens and portfolios of securities to the state and wages to stem the crisis. In fact, the labor expenditure punctually increased as a result of these movements should increase again, and so on perpetually - which the new technical standards of production no longer allow. Faced with the bad figures once in power, the left sooner or later renounces the thunderous promises held the day before. It is only in the situation of a collapse of the markets that state interventionism and the repatriation of capital will return to the agenda, and that with the consent of the possessing classes. It can also be ended the period of fiscal license that benefit the major groups involved in the trade war. This re-regulation will not constitute a policy " of the Left "but simple rational measures to save capitalist relations. They will not bring about general well-being, only a lesser temporary evil called for certain subsequent degradation. Nevertheless, he will always be in the world to salute in this poor event the final victory of reason. Let us remember that the tutelary figures of the reformist left: Keynes and Roosevelt, are part of the wake of the most disheveled liberalism.

Need for the anti-capitalist break

Capitalist wealth does not lend itself to " sharing ." As it consists of commodities, it proceeds through " exchange " and therefore requires continued pressure on wages. The class struggle finds its objective foundation here. The slogan of sharing " wealth "Keynesian reformulated in the desire to see capital reinvested in activity and employment has become totally obsolete. The concentration of money in the hands of a few large groups as well as its artificial swelling by the processes of globalized finance give the impression that profitable investment would always be possible and capable of initiating self-sustaining growth. But this impression is false and we must go beyond a hara on the " rich " By bearing the iron of the criticism against capitalism and its fundamental structures (merchandise, abstract work, money, state, etc.), in other words against the illusory accommodations of the reform and against any belief in a lasting compromise of class which thinks to be able to return a certain fringe of the protest movement. The crisis of capitalism is not the crisis of the established power, which could even be reinforced and find support if necessary on its wing " left ".

Wil (AL Paris North East)

In summary:

Editorial: The Marxian dimension of anarchism
Alain Bihr (sociologist): " Even insufficient, Marx remains necessary ! "
Political economy: The usefulness of Marxian criticism for libertarians
Basics: Capitalist logic in eight basic notions
the value
the work force
domestic work
the capital gain
the trend decline in the rate of profit
Marx or Keynes ? The development of capitalism is no longer epoch
On the borders of Marxism and anarchism, councilism
Proudhon, the instigator denied
Bakunin, the critic heard
Daniel Guérin, returned from " libertarian marxism "
The " other communism " remains relevant

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