Fellows and Marxian subsistence

Max Sawicky sawicky at epinet.org
Mon Sep 21 13:22:20 PDT 1998

> The relative subsistence notion undermines the immiseration thesis; it
points to Keynesian "solutions" to capitalist crisis, since ultimately an "upwardly mobile" subsistence level provides a level of demand that mitigates against the "crisis" of falling wages (for the worker, and for capitalists).>

Quite so. For the advanced industrial countries, there simply is no relevant immiseration level. People may expect a certain standard of living, but it can be beaten out of them by one means or another, and they can be induced to accept a lower standard.

Even facing threat of death doesn't necessarily imply a resort to collective means of resistance. It can and does give rise to indivdualist solutions. Moral and rational aren't the same thing.

Bottom line is that it's about persuasion, not desperation induced by fear of death.


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