Trending Toward Global Revolution? Ted Reese
November 23, 2022
Unfortunately for political economists like Francis Fukuyama, who continues to insist that ‘liberal capitalism’ is ‘the end of history’, evolution has not reached a point of stasis and, insubordinately, instead remains ceaselessly dynamic.
Marx regarded socialism’s emergence and supersession of capitalism as an inexorable natural process,1 and as capitalism ages amid the automation industrial revolution it is becoming evermore apparent that his scientific analysis is indeed correct.
As he anticipated, this accelerating industrial revolution is paradoxically abolishing the source of exchange value and profit, i.e. capital’s theft of commodity-producing labour’s surplus labour time (surplus value), the time worked beyond necessary labour time/costs of subsistence.2
This process is not reversible. Capitalist production tends to break down as human labour becomes a relatively smaller part in the production process – producing an underproduction of surplus value (relative to the value of capital to be reproduced); and an overaccumulation of capital (a surplus that cannot be reinvested in production profitably). The capitalist is therefore compelled to raise the productivity of labour through innovation and to reduce the outlay on wages, thereby increasing the absolute mass of value but intensifying the contradiction in the long run.
Expanding the mass of value can take place through simple expansion – on the basis of existing technology – but competition between private producers and the need to meet the ever-rising demands of valorisation (value creation/reproduction) means expansion increasingly tends to be made on the basis of innovation, even if the rate of expansion and innovation tends to slow in relative terms.