Promoting mass purchasing power

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Fri Sep 18 05:28:51 PDT 1998

Chris Burford:
>I take the line of argument. In formal marxist terms there is a
>contradiction between the limited purchasing power of the masses and the
>need for capitalism to accumulate. This has manifested itself in a crisis
>of overproduction in Asia.
>The progressive solution is to increase the purchasing power of the masses
>at the expense of accumulated capital. Of course it will not come about
>through idealist political thinking. The western powers are not going to
>vote generous unemployment benefits to the people of the third world.

Once again Chris Burford, while invoking Marxism, proposes Keynsian solutions. The "progressive" solution is not to increase the purchasing power of the masses, but to expropriate the capitalist class. Chris Buford thinks that "generous unemployment benefits" are some kind of answer. Speaking for myself, I received the most generous unemployment benefits that any wage worker could receive after I lost a consulting position with Kidder-Peabody, a gang of thieves on Wall Street. I had to borrow $5000 from my retirement funds to pay my rent. No, the answer is to lay off the ruling class, not plead for higher unemployment benefits for the people who create the wealth of society.

Marxists are for the abolition of wage slavery. Chris Burford is some kind of Fabian Socialist, who I wish would stop invoking the good name of Karl Marx. Once again, I must remind folks of what Marx called for:

>>At the same time, and quite apart form the general servitude involved in
the wages system, the working class ought not to exaggerate to themselves the ultimate working of these everyday struggles. They ought not to forget that they are fighting with effects, but not with the causes of those effects; that they are retarding the downward movement, but not changing its direction; that they are applying palliatives, not curing the malady. They ought, therefore, not to be exclusively absorbed in these unavoidable guerilla fights incessantly springing up from the never ceasing encroachments of capital or changes of the market. They ought to understand that, with all the miseries it imposes upon them, the present system simultaneously engenders the material conditions and the social forms necessary for an economical reconstruction of society. Instead of the conservative motto, "A fair day's wage for a fair day's work!" they ought to inscribe on their banner the revolutionary watchword, "Abolition of the wages system!"<<

Louis Proyect


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