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The Call For Nationalisation Is A Bourgeois Demand

category international | worker & community struggles and protests | opinion/analysis author Sunday May 18, 2014 18:09author by Paddy Hackett Report this post to the editors

Calls for nationalisation are Utopian

State expenditure, as a whole, constitutes an enormous deduction from total surplus value. This largely unproductive spending involves an enormous contraction in the accumulation of capital. It is a deduction that has been growing significantly in the aftermath of the 2nd World War. In the present period of growing problems, regarding the accumulation of capital, there have been continuing feeble attempts to shrink the state or at least reduce the annual rate of state spending.

State expenditure is largely unproductive expenditure. It thereby does not produce value. This means it constitutes a deduction as opposed to an increment in total surplus value. This involves a corresponding fall in the rate of accumulation of capital. The latter tends to ultimately manifest itself in the form of a fall off in industrial growth.

As valorisation becomes increasingly difficult capitalism is compelled to reduce state expenditure. To counteract this it engages in increasing privitisation of its assets --denationalisation. It becomes increasingly impossible, then, for the state to extend nationalisation. The government does not privatise its state assets because it enjoys hurting the working class. Because of the specific nature of the objective conditions it is forced to privatise.

Under these circumstances calls for nationalisation and increased state spending are utopian and idealistic.These calls fail to correspond with objective reality. These calls then amount to no more than the deception and misleadership of the working class. By reinforcing illusions in the working class concerning capitalism reformism obstructs the working class from moving towards a realistic programme of communist revolution.

Because of monopoly capitalism's growing limits it must seek to minimise the state. On the other hand with a few exceptions it needs to eliminate or cut welfarism and related spending. To achieve this it may even need to abolish the formal democracy obtaining in the West.

However savage cut-backs by the state can only lead to sharpened class struggle. Under these conditions the emergence of class consciousness may make itself felt among the working class leading to the birth of a communist movement. Under these circumstances reformism will grow less plausible and influential within the working class. In view of this it is reactionary for reformism to make calls for nationalisation and increased spending by the state.

Despite the 2008 financial crash there has been no visible shift by the working class to a class conscious political paradigm. The working class is still dominated by reformism in one form or another. Even the Greek working class, despite its militancy, is still imprisoned within reformist ideology. The working class of the world still supports the capitalist system in one form or another.

Privatisation programmes undertaken by capitalist states must be combatted by the working class fighting for the control and ownership of these state assets. This revolutionary seizure of state assets is only possible within the context of a sustained attack on the capitalist state itself. This entails a class struggle for the abolition of the state and the capitalist system. The seizure of state assets such as health care services is only possible within the framework of a revolutionary struggle to destroy the capitalist state. The proletarian seizure of health care will bear a popular democratic character. Health will no longer be based on profit nor on a political strategy designed to serve the class interests of capitalism.

Health care is simultaneously a necessary reproduction and repair of labour power.Much of nationalised health care forms part of the value of labour power. But much of it is unproductive too. This means it is a drain on surplus value. In that sense it directly contributes to the fall in the general rate of profit together with a corresponding decline in the economy.

Much of health care, whether private or public, serves to maintain the value of labour power by ensuring that the latter is preserved in a healthy condition. The health of the working class serves the interests of capital. This is because the health of the working class is of concern to the capitalist class with regard to the valorisation process. An unhealthy working class is not going to be as available for exploitation in the prodiction process.

Nationalisation was introduced as a strategy designed to help pacify the working class in the interests of capitalist stability. It was also designed to support the economy. But nationalisation has contributed to falling profitability which has interfered with the rate of capital accumulation. Because of this capitalism seeks to increasingly privatise health care especially in a period, such as this, when the profitability of capital is a growing problem.

Calls for the continuation and extension of health care nationalisation are bourgeois demands. Instead the call must be for the ownership and control of health care by the working class. This can only be achieved by the abolition of the state and its capitalist basis. Under these conditions the criterion of profitability no longer exists.

A part of the health service maintains the health of the active working class. Consequently it maintains and even increases the value of labour power which leads to a reduction in profit. Although the above is true it tends to be counteracted by health care maintaining and even improving the condition of labour power thereby maintaining and even increasing its capacity to provide labour within the production process. In that sense it cannot be simply regarded as unproductive activity. However the part of the health service that does not maintain and increase the present and future value of the working class is unproductive. This constitutes a direct deduction from surplus value and thereby contributes to the decline in economic growth. Clearly state health care, overall, tends to adversely affect the growth rate.

The nationalised section of health care is funded by the state effectively through taxation which is a revenue drawn from value. This is a deduction both from surplus value and the value accruing to the working class. It represents a transfer of value away from the consumption of the active working class and the accumulation of capital.

Education plays a similar role to health within capitalism. A part of it involves the training of labour power in the interests of the capitalist reproduction process. This heightens the value of labour power while improving the capacity of the worker to provide labour. The result is upskilling of labour power. Overall this aspect of education may more or less prove to neutral in ughrelation to capital accumulation. Research contributes to increasing the productivity of labour by promoting technological progress. However the residual part constitutes a deduction from surplus value without any change in the value of labour power. Much of this aspect of education is ideological. It is designed to maintain and even increase citizen support for the capitalist system through false consciousness. This feature of education obviously contributes to the contraction of growth.

The armed forces, the police and much of the state bureaucracy constitute significant deductions from surplus value. They constitute an unproductive expenditure. Thereby they lead to a fall in the rate of profit which further constrains the expansion of capital. This is why governments seek to reduce the cost of these state features.

State expenditure, as a whole, constitutes an enormous deduction from total surplus value. This largely unproductive spending involves an enormous contraction in the accumulation of capital. It is a deduction that has been growing significantly in the aftermath of the 2nd World War. In the present period of growing problems, regarding the accumulation of capital, there have been continuing feeble attempts to shrink the state or at least reduce the annual rate of state spending.

The contradiction is that burgeoning state spending was undertaken to compensate for the inherent limits of capital entailing mass unemployment and many other problems.Yet this spending paradoxically leads in turn to the reinforcement of these limits. Indeed much of the entire state constitutes a deduction from total surplus value because it constitutes unproductive expenditure. This is why there have been attempts, not very successfully, to shrink the size of the modern state. In this way capitalism is its own grave digger.

Capitalism, because of its growing limits, is decreasingly able to fund welfare and other expenditure. Capitalism is unable to meet the demands being made by left reformists such as the SP/SWP and other political organisations. Consequently reformism deceives and misleads the working class by suggesting that capitalism is manageable in such a way as to solve the problems of the working class.

If capitalism can solve the problems of the working class then it is superfluous and misleading for communists to call for social revolution.

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