An Effect of Disequilibrium

The capitalist becomes able to control how employees are paid to a degree which no longer gives, to them, that part of the value of the goods they produce which corresponds to the part of the application of labour-power which they have contributed to it.

Eventually, the work-force arrives at some process of agreement with their boss, on what they are paid; if it long remains one of resigned acceptance, it will become one of harsh living conditions unless the capitalist is deliberately generous (and that might tempt a greedy response; so it can only wisely be done with careful attention to reality's details - like so much else); harsh enough living conditions may be relied on to encourage collective action, which may well suffice as a counter-force to the capitalist's (economic) power (or any other means of coercion at the boss's disposal).

But any counter-force will enable the work-force to take some control over matters.

If this process retain its inherited decoupling from the formal equilibrium of fairness, its dynamics will ignore the constrains on which that equilibrium depends. Expect a mess.

Post scripti, in no particular order.

The market (even briefly) out of equilibrium imposes conditions on the capitalist which make his optimal strategy (even be he genuinely generous and fair in all his dealings with share-holders, staff, suppliers and all) involve decoupling of the kind described above.

The potential benefits seduce capitalists into preferring disequilibrium and exploiting benefits (in one area) arising from the mere fact of variation (in some, possibly other, area).

The world treats capital the same way it treats a (fairly re-usable or persistent) natural resource.

Even the corporate shareholder can see that, among those who can do the job well, the manager who manages best is the one whose absence from his post would least rapidly have any impact.

... and now a word from Horace Mann, in his 1848 Report No. 12 of the Massachusetts School Board

I suppose it to be the universal sentiment of all those who mingle any ingredient of benevolence with their notions on Political Economy, that vast and overshadowing private fortunes are among the greatest dangers to which the happiness of the people in a republic can be subjected. Such fortunes would create a feudalism of a new kind; but one more oppressive and unrelenting than that of the Middle Ages. The feudal lords in England, and on the continent, never held their retainers in a more abject condition of servitude, than the great majority of foreign manufacturers and capitalists hold their operatives and laborers at the present day. The means employed are different, but the similarity in results is striking. What force did then, money does now. The villein of the Middle Ages had no spot of earth on which he could live, unless one were granted to him by his lord. The operative or laborer of the present day has no employment, and therefore no bread, unless the capitalist will accept his services. The vassal had no shelter but such as his master provided for him. Not one in five thousand of English operatives, or farm laborers, is able to build or own even a hovel; and therefore they must accept such shelter as Capital offers them. The baron prescribed his own terms to his retainers; those terms were peremptory, and the serf must submit or perish. The British manufacturer or farmer prescribes the rate of wages he will give to his work-people; he reduces these wages under whatever pretext he pleases; and they too have no alternative but submission or starvation. In some respects, indeed, the condition of the modern dependant is more forlorn than that of the corresponding serf class in former times. Some attributes of the patriarchal relation did spring up between the lord and his lieges, to soften the harsh relations subsisting between them. Hence came some oversight of the condition of children, some relief in sickness, some protection and support in the decrepitude of age. But only in instances comparatively few, have kindly offices smoothed the rugged relation between British Capital and British Labor.

in which America - indeed the whole world - now falls to the same vice as Mann there reports of Imperial Britain.

Written Eddy.
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