Capitalism’s Fatal Flaw... Part 1.
GLOBAL STRATEGIC HYPOTHESES.
Karl Marx, in his 1859 Preface to his book A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy, wrote an ‘historically generic’ account of the process of human-social ...evolution/revolution/evolution/..., such as it had emerged from his exhaustive historical researches, as follows:
The question for us herein is this: “How does the historically general “guiding principle”, described above, apply, ‘‘‘historically-specifically’’’, to the “historically-specific”, late-capitalist, state-capitalist epoch of the self-development of the human species within which we presently reside?
Technological advance devalues accumulated older capital-value, by technological obsolescence depreciation, or “moral depreciation” -- ‘technodepreciation’, for short.
Productive force increase in the form of productivity-increasing technological advance forces the "premature" retirement of "capital equipment" -- capitalist means of production -- that have been rendered obsolete by competition from capitalists wielding the more technologically-advanced, more productive capital equipment.
Productive force increase in the industries producing means of production also means that the "abstract labor-time" cost of producing again a new vintage of "the same" capital equipment is lower than that cost was in the past, so that the capital-value of "the same" capital equipment, old and new alike, falls.
The capitalists caught holding the older, more expensive equipment can be forced to reduce the prices of their output to meet price competition from capitalists wielding the newer, less expensive equipment.
In effect, the "old-holding" capitalists are, in such cases, forced to lower the "wear-and-tear" depreciation charge component of the prices of their output.
They are thus, in effect, in so doing, devaluing their old-vintage capital equipment -- writing off into their loss column part of the "original" or "historical" capital-value of that capital equipment, which it garnered at the time of its purchase, but which it garners no longer, since its cost of production has fallen via increases in the productivity of its type of machine-making.
They are thus forced to DIS-accumulate part of their accumulated capital-value, which, 'net-ing out' against their gross profits, will reduce their net profits, or even drive those net profits into negative -- loss -- territory, for the accounting period in which this devaluation of their capital-equipment is recognized.
Moreover, if the periodic increment of relative surplus value, and of profits, gained by scrapping older equipment, and by replacing it with newer equipment, is small compared to the value of the [fixed] capital “written-off”, then this may manifest as a secularly declining rate of return on capital investment.
Later capitalism has -- more specifically, the owners of concentrated industrial capital in later capitalism have -- more and more to lose from further growth of productivity -- from further growth of the "productive forces" -- [more and more fixed capital-value, exposed to technodepreciation, relative to all other components of operating capital-value], and less and less to gain from further growth in the "social forces of production" [as the portion of the working day that reproduces wages -- the portion from which additional relative surplus-value can be wrested by further productivity increases -- shrinks asymptotically, approaching ever closer to zero].
This is why that ruling faction has funded the proliferation of anti-science, anti-technology, “neo-primitivist”, 'pro-mystoid', “back to nature”, “small is beautiful”, “zero economic growth”, “zero population growth”, “eugenics”, “global warming”, ‘pro-humanocide’ ideologies [not to mention their funding and other engineering of the global proliferation of Dark Ages neo-"religions" -- including "fundamentalist", theocratic-totalitarian, genocidal pseudo-Christianity, "fundamentalist", theocratic-totalitarian, genocidal pseudo-Islam, "fundamentalist", theocratic-totalitarian, genocidal pseudo-Judaism, and "fundamentalist", theocratic-totalitarian, genocidal pseudo-Hinduism -- all as a divide and conquer strategy against the working class, and as a "justification" for the reflation of their Military-Industrial Complex, otherwise threatened with collapsing funding due to the collapse of Stalinist, totalitarian, genocidal state-capitalism in Russia/Eastern Europe].
Again, this general fall in the rate of return on capital invested is especially likely, in the later stages of capitalist accumulation, if, in those stages, the value of fixed capital plant and equipment dwarfs the value of wages, this dwarfing being, itself, an expression of the high level of social reproductive force already attained, for it is the growing physical mass, and, secondarily, the growing 'value-mass', of the machine means of production that enables the growth of commodity-production productivity.
This nets out on the side of rising net profits during the earlier stage of the self-evolution of the society founded upon the capital-relation, when fixed capital-value is but a small percentage of the total capital-value employed, this smallness reflecting the then lower level of the social reproductive force.
This nets out on the side of falling net profits -- falling rates of return on capital investment -- during the later stage of the self-evolution of the society founded upon the capital-relation, when fixed capital-value becomes a gargantuan percentage of the total capital-value employed, reflecting the gargantuan level of development of the societal-reproductive force -- unless the capitalist ruling class undertakes catastrophic steps to block, divert, and undermine this capital-value-destroying growth of human-social self-productive force.
Those catastrophic steps are the core of the enfetterment, by the capital-relation -- and, consciously, by the core of the capitalist ruling class, as a class-for-itself -- of the further growth of the social forces of production.
This ‘intra-duality’, or ‘‘‘self-contradiction’’’, of the capital-relation -- of ‘“self-expanding capital-value”’, due to the increase in relative surplus-value wrought by productive force increase -- versus ‘self-contracting capital-value’, due to the ‘technodepreciation’ devaluation of capital-value also resulting from productive force increase -- is capitalism’s fatal flaw.
That is, humanity, acting as capitalism, must eventually negate itself as capitalism, in the one way, or in the other way.