MONOPOLY CAPITAL

Positivism is a theory of knowledge. It states that all knowledge must be based in experience. In stating the aforementioned definition numerous assumptions were taken as given. Among them are meaning of words and syntax relationships. As this paper recognizes a need to state openly basic assumptions when defining a theory of knowledge the introduction will suffice as a medium.

John Locke may be regarded as the founder of empiricism, and as such the founder of the methodology of positivism.

1. Russell p. 609

(page 1 of notes missing)

... capitalism, not the existence of earth's boundaries (which even giant corporations cannot modify) which developed momentum. If unlimited expansion cannot occur in a confined space then corporate management has realized the paradox they are creating.

As Baran and Sweezey put it:

"Twist and turn as one will, there is no way to avoid the conclusion that monopoly capitalism is a self-contradictory system. It tends to generate ever more surplus, yet it fails to provide the consumption and investment outlets required of a rising surplus and hence for the smooth working of the system.ftn

Investment can be classed as new or as replacing depreciating capital. The giant corporations necessarily have developed their capital. This is part of the problem. When management considers investing they do so with an awareness of where previous money has been spent. If they have hardware that produces an item, let's arbitrarily assign a value of 100 million to the hardware, and that hardware has an estimated twenty years of productive use before necessitating any sizable investment, then management will attempt to maximize the value of their established hardware. In maximizing they will use sales effort (see contact pg. 119)ftn. That is a fairly obvious modern corporation method. But consider this: Suppose a man designs hardware that for an initial investment of 50 million will produce the same items as the corporation is already selling. Suppose also that the per unit cost is reduced by thirty percent. What would happen to the design under monopoly capitalism?

The management of the large corporation must attempt to insure their capital. They are probably producing at less than capacity already so have no desire for increasing total production capacity. Yet, they do not wish to allow a competing factory to be built. So normally they would buy the designer's patents and file they away. But the designer knows that he can produce the item more cheaply than the giant corporation and does not feel the pittance offered for patent rights is enough. Yet. he has no capital. He must borrow. When he attempts to borrow 50 million the banks look for security. Two things prevent bank management from approving the loan. The first is a paper design versus existent hardware. They know the giant corporation will sell at a loss on the one item and drive the competition out of the market. The banks also know that the giant corporation quite possibly would succeed. Second, banks look for collateral. If the designer is not already established and has no property that the banks could claim in case of failure, then bank management owes it to their depositors to refuse the loan. So ordinarily the designer would be forced to accept the pittance offered for patent rights knowing that the giant corporation has no intention of building the new hardware. If a sales effort developed sufficient new demand for the item then the giant corporation would use the best design in terms of cost available. But if demand remains suppliable by current hardware, no monopoly capitalist would invest until the old hardware started wearing out.

So corporations are faced with ever-increasing surplus. They must invest it or consume it. If they invest it will be to make a greater profit. As to consumption, "Capitalist consumption would increase absolutely, which of course is to be expected, but it would decline as a proportion of surplus and even more as a proportion of total income."ftn In developed countries this presents a serious investment problem. The tremendous amount of surplus left for investment cannot all be profitably invested. And to management if it's not profitable it's not invested. For the giant corporation the solution has been international development. Investment in developing or underdeveloped countries. But this doesn't help the surplus problem.

"Indeed, except possibly for brief periods of abnormally high capital exports from the advanced countries, foreign investment must be looked upon as a method of pumping surplus out of underdeveloped areas, not as a channel through which surplus is directed into them." ftn (p. 105)

More surplus then. Is this so bad. Yes it is. We have many, many things which money could provide. Full employment, housing, food care programs, medical benefits certainly. The single greatest waste has been war. One hundred billion a year in the U.S. during peacetime. Tremendous deficits incurred during war. Naturally it has been shown who got the proceeds of our war effort - the giant corporation.

In summation it has been shown that surplus tends to rise. It has been demonstrated that consumption rises absolutely but not relatively. It has been shown that investment is normally directed at creating profit. Let's bring monopoly capital into 1975. It is certainly all around us. 8.5% unemployment. Industries having to produce under capacity, or close down while stocks slowly are bought. Federal government pushing money at people asking them to spend it. Institutions crumbling for lack of the peasant's support. Starvation while farmers let crops rot. Hunger as beef are shot and buried. Above all, stagnation as surplus, tightly held, accumulates. Accumulates which by definition means it is earmarked as waste. Waste money rather than invest it for other than dollar profit. This is 1975. Can monopoly capitalism survive? If you were to ask should it survive - most would give a vehement no. But asking can it survive - well, giant corporation shave huge surpluses with which to hire the best personnel. Can it survive. Monopoly capitalism owns developed countries. Can it survive .. that's up to you and me.
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