Why Capital is Overvalued

Max Sawicky sawicky at epinet.org
Mon Mar 8 00:42:59 PST 1999

You said (with me selectively editing),

> > . . . But surplus vlaue is labour and in any given country labour is of
a given magnitude. From a given working population only a definite mass of surplus value is extortable. . .>>

And I said,

> >MS: Why is that? Labor productivity is not limited the way or to the
extent that labor time is.>>

My comment was in regard to what sounded like a flat statement of principle not resting on whatever is happening at this particular point in time with labor productivity, which is how you began your reply --

> But labor productivity is exactly what is not improving in the present
pseudo boom. That is why it has taken so much employment expansion in order to deliver the greater output; why that is so has to be explained by those who tout the emergence of a new economy. Even the minor improvement in productivity growth is a sham: once the business cycle is corrected for and inflation properly measured, >>

Who says inflation is not properly measured?

>> output has probably not increased sufficiently to justify the recently
.3% increase in productivity growth. The profit projections implicit in the 9500 Dow have no basis . . . >>

Have no basis in this universe, but what does this have to do with whether or not surplus value can expand for a given size workforce or amount of labor supplied?

>> . . . in the amount of surplus value extortable from the proletariat
available for exploitation by American capital. Even if labor productivity were improving and necessary labor time being further pushed downward, still not enough surplus value could be extracted to justify the rising stock exchange . . . >>

So we don't disagree, at least on what I raised, no?

>> the explanation for which must thus be found elsewhere. The paradox of
course is that its rise can only be explained on the basis of the law of value though rising equity values are indeed incompatible with it. >>

This last sounds totally self-contradictory, if by law of value you mean the labor-based 'liquid' component of output measured in money, rather than the fizz reflected in fictitious value.

Still confused,


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