Contradictions of Accumulation in Australia

Edited 25/2/14
In December 2013 I received criticism via twitter from ‪@redlizthompson‬‬ and ‪@Mitropoulos_A‬‬ for my participation in Historical Materialism Australasia 2013. Readers should obviously read this criticism directly if interested but to summarize it runs as follows: since I participated in the conference which was subject to a withdrawal due to the presence of speakers from Solidarity an organization whose National Committee had recently released an internal statement supporting the Socialist Workers Party UK’s cover-up of rape and sexualized violence then I either directly supported the behavior of the SWP/Solidarity or at least my public quietism on the question meant that in practice I supported it whatever my actual thoughts. The absence of a public statement critiquing the SWP/Solidarity effectively meant public support.

Also I was criticized for having friendships and political collaborations with then current members of Solidarity.

I am in two minds about this assertion about the necessity for a public statement. On one hand I find it odd. The vast majority of my political thoughts and opinions are developed with and shared within a very small network of close comrades and friends. The idea of making some general statement to some kind of public seems weird at best. My written work that does exist on the internet is most often an attempt to follow a very specific project or intervene in specific debates largely focused on Qld. In the past I certainly commented on everything and anything but I have tried to reign in this practice as I slowly realized I was often commenting on things I knew little about.

However supporters of the call to withdraw from HM have pointed out that public silence on questions of sexualized violence reproduces the split between public and private that is so bound up as part of the gender relations of the society we live in. That’s a hard point to argue against and I can’t.

Also when I posted the original post bellow I referenced the HM debated but made no statement of my thoughts. This I think was a mistake as the post itself is a public artifact and I should have taken the time to clarify my position on the issues. I don’t believe however that such a need to address the public applies to other HM participants on a whole.
So my thoughts:

• The behavior of the SWP was appalling. It is more evidence for that decades old feminist argument that Left organizations not only continue the patterns of violence and inequality around gender which is part of broader society but organizational cultures often entrench power-relations that facilitate abuse. The following ‘crisis’ is more evidence of the need for feminism to be an integral part of any revolutionary project.
• The statement of Solidarity was horrible and shows how loyalty to a political brand can be so destructive and pathetic
• I don’t and didn’t agree with the withdrawal– It seemed off-target. If the problem was Solidarity why not call for a boycott of working with them in all forums until certain criteria were met? Why call for a boycott of conference in which they were participants but no other spaces they work in? On the basis of these objections I didn’t participate in the boycott.
• Finally I expressed my critique of Solidarity’s statement to my friends and comrades that were at the time members. I didn’t make my friendship with them conditional on them doing anything about what I said. Nor should I have.

Below is the (edited) text of the paper I presented at Historical Materialism Australasia. This year’s conference happened in the context of a serious disagreement around sexual violence prompted in part by the SWP crisis. You can find some material on this here and here.
The below paper is fairly limited and suffers from conceptual and structural problems. However in the spirit of With Sober Senses I am happy to make it available as it functions both as a marker of the progress of my research and also as a fairly functional summary of my work so far.
In the discussion three major issues came out for me, and I thank those who contributed.
1. So far I still conceive of the public service/ state provision of reproduction as being too separate from capital accumulation proper. They are deeply and complexly intermeshed on the molecular and molar level.
2. More work is needed to further investigated how capital ‘thinks’ on the level of society
3. This kind of research needs to be careful that it doesn’t collapse into being a Marxian plan for a better capitalism – there is a tendency to do just that.

For capital there is no problem: restructuring of the system is the condition for the stabilization of the regime, and vice-versa…The interests of the proletariat, are quite the opposite. The proletariat aims at a critical seizure of the nexus between stabilization and restructuring, in order then to attack it.(Negri, 2005, p. 232)

So what I want to do here is fairly simple: I want to trace out what I think are some of the major barriers of capital accumulation in Australia in our present conjuncture and I will do so with a pretty broad brush – apologies to the details and the devils they may contain. I do so because I think these barriers are some of the deep fault-lines of class antagonism in Australia. This will be a summary of the research I have been doing over the first half of this year for the blog With Sober Senses.

Note: I didn’t read out the following section as I thought it was unnecessarily small minded, took up too much time, and potentially drew focus from what was actually important to discuss
( My intention is to help to revitalise the Marxian critique of political economy in a way that is useful for comrades in struggle. In this sense my tone is quite polemical as on a whole activist Marxism in Australia is rubbish: built around either a theological understanding of crisis and the tendency of the rate of profit to decline as the explanation of everything/ or an explanation based on the idea that bad people and bad ideas – most often summed up under the rubric of ‘neoliberalism’ – are at fault. The fact that comrades can often hold to both of these individually flawed and mutually exclusive notions shows the poor quality of the doxa that goes under the name of Marxism in Australia. No wonder so many people in Australia involved in struggles hold Marx and Marxism (not a term I like by the way) to be exhausted or irrelevant. Academic Marxism whilst of a higher quality is often displaced from lived realities. Rather I am attempting (and I am ready for some alarm bells to go off here and some philosophical questions to be thrown at me that I probably can’t answer) to be genuinely materialist – to understand how capitalism and the current class composition in Australia actually functions. My other polemical aim is to help develop a communist class based response to our present moment rather than a Left/socialist Keynesian one. )
Part of my argument is that many of the barriers that capital in Australia currently faces (and this probably is changing even as we speak) are to do with reproduction. Now of course all crises are crisis of a social order trying to reproduce itself. In this case I want to be more specific – reproduction here refers to a series of events and processes that whilst are intermeshed with capital accumulation proper are at some level separate from it yet are crucial for capital’s existence. Indeed one could say that seemingly paradoxically reproduction is an a prior condition for capital’s existence. This is partially removed from Marx’s argument in Capital where capital’s process of accumulation and circulation works to constantly rebuild and expand its foundations – that ultimately what workers produce is their own condition of being workers (1990, pp. 723-724). Now this is true but in a real capitalist society more is needed. There are at least three strands of reproduction that seem crucial. Althusser (2008) on the need for ideological institutions to produce certain ideas and forms of subjectivity; the feminist arguments such as those of Fortunati, James, Della Rossa and Federici that identify the work of women in the home to care for children and male workers (1975; 2004, 2012; 1995) and then the generalisation of the argument to look at so many of the activities outside the working day proper (Midnight Notes Collective, 1985); and Paolo Virno’s (2004) insistence that since labour-power is a potential that exists in the body this is then the only sound foundation from which to grasp the origin and functioning of bio-power. All three of these tendencies focus on the question of what is necessary to produce workers as workers: how must we think about ourselves, understand our world, care for each other and ourselves and be measured monitored, internally divided and disciplined. Australian capital demands a certain kind of labour-power, a certain kind of worker, and our inability or unwillingness to be this kind of person confronts capital as a problem.
So that said how can we sketch the current conjuncture of Australian capitalism? It is clear that we are in a moment of transition but to what and how is more opaque. The last twenty years can be summarised by the success of the mining boom and the durability of what I want to call the ‘high-work, high-consumption, high credit’ deal offered to workers. In the context of the global wall-mart economy, to use Varoufakis’ (2011) term Australia underwent a long resources boom. Of course there is a lot of work on this but here I want to draw out two points: one that until very recently the resources boom lead to a great deal of commentary from bourgeois sources on the patch-work or two speed nature of the Australian economy. This is I think a limited understanding of an inability for or at least barriers to the formation of an average rate of profit in Australia. Capitalism has a tendency towards the formation of an average rate of profit as capital moves from sections with lower rates of profit to higher rates of profit and prices are displaced(?) to circulate not around value but prices of production(Marx, 1991). As Caffentzis (2012) emphasises such a process is necessary for the both the formation of individual capitalists into a class concerned about questions of social totality and also is essential to the profitability of firms that have a higher composition of capital – as value produced elsewhere is realised by these firms. But a tendency towards a formation of an average rate of profit doesn’t mean the success of this formation. And indeed with a resources boom, and specifically this resources boom, capital runs into two limitations. The obvious one – mining requires mineral despotises thus limiting the amount of business opportunities; and secondly and perhaps more importantly there was/is a shortage of skilled blue-collar labour. This meant not only are workers able to receive impressive conditions the high cost of labour impacted on those non-mining sectors as did the high Australian dollar. The shortage of labour power is also a ceiling, be it a floating one, on the total social working day.
In the context of this boom, as part of the general shift from Fordism to post-Fordism, there was an obvious and profound change of the class composition in Australia – obvious to our lived experiences if not the mental images of the working class that haunts the mind of the Left. Capital offered us a new deal to replace the end or the restriction of the social democratic deal. The amount we worked increased, the amount of us who worked increased, wages increased – but in a highly unequal fashion – and access to credit and finance massive increased. Thus whilst the labour share of national income dropped it was not necessarily experienced as a drop in living conditions: workers had access to more money and the price of many goods became cheaper– due to the shift of production to the new workshops of the world.
In this context the major barrier facing accumulation was a shortage of labour-power. But since labour-power is a potential of the human body it isn’t simply a numerical questions – if refers not only to the amount of people available to work but what skills, abilities and ideas they have, and also the intensity they can work and the duration of the work they can do and are willing to do. This is a partly a demographic question as an aging population means a reduction in potential workers(Reserve Bank of Australia, 2012, p. 10) – something that runs into the particular racialised elements of capital’s deal offered to workers. The restriction of immigration has historically been a reactionary strategy elements of the workers’ movement and large elements of the class support in an attempt to maintain the tight labour supply and thus higher conditions(Curthoys & Markus, 1978). (An important contradiction: the tension between the racialised nature of the deal offered workers and capital’s need for more workers.)
Now of course unemployment was never as low in the 1960s and many point out problems with the ABS’s numbers. But what this doesn’t take into consideration is the lack of a job doesn’t mean that one necessarily has the labour-power, that potential to work, that capital desires. The highly fragmented nature of the current class composition means that as workers we don’t easily flow from job to job as capital requires. Thus we must always remember that behind the worker on the labour market stands a specific complex mesh of the work of reproduction that creates all of this: both the work in the home and that in the various form of service and care industries (cf. Federici, 2012; Precarias a la Deriva, 2006)
Combined with these problems are the two new barriers that capital faces as the waves of the global financial crisis start to wash on our shores again: the slow down of the rates of growth of the mining boom and the difficulties in funding state provided levels of social reproduction. The second is most obviously seen in the various forms of ‘slow’ austerity ( to use my friend Rob’s term). In the case of Queensland whilst the claims of the level of debt that the Queensland and Commission of Audit lament are overblown (Workers’ Audit, 2012) the state does faces the very real difficulty of a decline in income and also more difficult global conditions to access credit – hence the obsession about credit ratings and the effects they have on the cost of borrowing. The state’s response then is to sell off, sack and intensify the quests for productivity. In practice this is an intensification of work: privatised management of services would probably result in worse working conditions, job loses mean that less workers have to do more, and the end of funding to services or restrictions to access push more work on to the household. Either the labour itself of care will intensify in the home or the costs of funding it will.
Overall this situation is obviously contradictory – on one hand capital demands more labour-power/ on the other it is less able to fund its reproduction through the state. Productivity – the intensification of labour is the proposed solution to both.
But what about the looming slow down; how does this change things? Firstly there is a need for more research here. Two points: capitalist society moves at multiple speeds. Not only are there the many speeds of various different capitals circulating and reproducing themselves there is also the time of the state and the time of the various contenting political forces and wings of capital. Secondly the question isn’t just how the crisis impacts on capital but also what capital does in this moment, how it tries to respond and also the ability of inability of workers to pose autonomous forms of existing and acting. Now it is unlikely that capital globally can solve the current crisis without letting the crash crash – a massive devaluation of capital that might, depending on what survives, allow the possibility for another cycle of accumulation(Kliman, 2012) . This doesn’t mean that capital can’t attempt to move and this matters.
So what can we see starting to unfold? There is a form of spatial fix – with capital moving from mining to real estate. This in itself requires a massive reduction in the power of restrictions in planning and environmental laws – something we see in Queensland. What will this mean for building workers and building unions – especially if this happens in the unlikely condition of an ALP federal victory?
Secondly we can expect a shared drive from the different factions of capital around productivity. Though the various different plans for increasingly productivity are only now taking shape on the national stage. One thing that may increase is the further creation and application of ersatz market mechanisms in the public service to intensify the practice of labour in the workplace. Equally employer organisations lament that lack of the control they have at the point of production to move and control workers as they wish – we just aren’t flexible enough
And thirdly households – household debt continues to hover just under 150% of disposable income (Reserve Bank of Australia, 2012, p. 6). This is unlikely to change as the costs of financing reproduction and the high level of house prices necessary to make the spatial fix work rest on the pockets of workers and is greater than their wages.
There are many examples of this
None of this is may actually solve capital’s problems. What then is a class and communist position? Such a thing cannot be determined from the kind of research this paper has produced, it can only arise in the context of struggles and compositional research – but perhaps we can raise it in discussion. Two things do come to mind. First it is probably not a terrible idea for communists to carry out similar research as attempted here – to better understand and better communicate to struggles the large structural forces and dynamics of capital. Secondly the Left in moments such as these normally attempts what elsewhere is called a Plan B – that is a solution for overcoming capital’s barriers most often drawing on some kind of reheating of Keynesian desires. But can we start to talk how the first reaction again capital proposed solutions – which will come from the Left as much as the Right – that is the refusal to accept job cuts, the defence of environments ( wild and built) against capital expansion, etc can move from a simple NO to more articulated attempts orientated towards the ‘communist horizon’?

Althusser, Louis. (2008). On Ideology. London New York: Verso.
Caffentzis, George. (2012). Against Nuclear Exceptionalism with a Coda on the Commons and Nuclear Power. Paper presented at the Crisis and Commons: PreFigurative Politics After Fukashima, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies.
Curthoys, Ann, & Markus, Andrew (Eds.). (1978). Who Are Our Enemies: Racism and the Working Class in Australia. Neutral Bay: Hale & Iremonger.
Dalla Costa, Mariarosa, & James, Selma. (1975). The Power of women and the subversion of the community (3rd ed.). Bristol: Falling Wall Press.
Federici, Silvia. (2004). Caliban and The Witch: Women, The Body and Primitive Accumulation. Brookyln, NY: Autonomedia.
Federici, Silvia. (2012). Revolution at Point Zero. Oakland CA: PM Press.
Fortunati, Leopoldina. (1995). The Arcane of Reproduction: Housework, Prostitution, Labour and Capital (H. Creek, Trans.). Brooklyn, NY: Autonomedia.
Kliman, Andrew. (2012). The Failure of Capitalist Production: Underlying Causes of the Great Recession. London: Pluto Press.
Marx, Karl. (1990). Capital: A Critique of Political Economy (B. Fowkes, Trans. Vol. 1). London: Penguin Classics.
Marx, Karl. (1991). Capital: A Critique of Political Economy (D. Fernbach, Trans. Vol. 3). London: Penguin Books in association with New Left Review.
Midnight Notes Collective. (1985). Strange Victories: The Anti-Nuclear Movement in the US and Europe London: Elephant Editions.
Negri, Antonio. (2005). Books For Burning: Between Civil War and Democracy in 1970s Italy (A. Bove, E. Emery, T. S. Murphy & F. Novello, Trans.). London & New York: Verso.
Precarias a la Deriva. (2006). A Very Careful Strike- Four Hypotheses The Commoner: A Web Journal For Other Values(11 Spring), 33-45.
Reserve Bank of Australia. (2012). The Australian Economy and Financial Markets Chart Pack July 2013. Retrieved 23rd July, 2013, from http://www.rba.gov.au/chart-pack/pdf/chart-pack.pdf
Varoufakis, Yanis. (2011). The Global Minotaur: America, the True Origins of the Financial Crisis and the Future of the World Economy. London & New York: Zed Books.
Virno, Paolo. (2004). A Grammar of The Multitude. Los Angeles, CA & New York,NY: Semiotext(e).
Workers’ Audit. (2012). Workers’ Audit No1. Retrieved 10th August, 2012, from http://www.facebook.com/notes/workers-audit/workers-audit-no-1/100810233400417

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7 thoughts on “Contradictions of Accumulation in Australia

  1. Marc Newman

    Hey, Dave, you should take a look at Liz Humphrys recent stuff about hegemonic projects, drawing on a re-reading of Gramsci. I think it is a very useful framework for thinking about the issues you flag in 1), 2) and 3) of your web-intro to the paper.

  2. nicholas

    hey Dave, great piece. I have a couple of questions on it in that I think there are two missing pieces to the puzzle you put together.

    The erosion of the social wage and the value of necessary labour are both the target of neoliberalism precisely to shore up the rate of profit. So inflation plus austerity both need to be brought into the picture, complicated by the exportation of inflation and currency manoeuvres by other competing states. I guess this is really two questions: how much of the barrier is one of necessity to ensure a decent rate of profit via the imposition of a lower social wage and a lower portion of value remunerated in the labour process, and therefore an internal contradiction, and how much is it a political contradiction in so far as states need to manage their own economies to ensure minimal labour compliance and a happy local capitalist class via competing with other state (a bit of a Foucauldian point…)?

    the second is what role does ecological barriers play? Moore, O’Conner and Foster all outline some useful analytical strategies for interrogating this . It ties into the cost of living/inflation point above via higher costs of extraction and the supply-demand relationship – one answer to the unasked question of why the financial crisis hit when it did (i.e., increases in the cost of resources, most importantly oil). And it affects the potential for accumulation in the extractive sectors, including farming. Of course, then there is climate change as a future game changer…

    as an aside, have you read the old Midnight’s Notes piece on oil/work where George puts extractive industries and the service industries into a mutual dependency? I can’t entirely remember the piece, but your presentation reminded me of it.

  3. One can crticise neoliberalism as the dominant ideology of capital and restructuring without falling into the pit of left-Keynesianism.

    I do think understanding the tendency of the rate of profit to fall is an important pre-condition to understanding general economic and political developments from the ruling class, especially in times of working class quiescence. That doesn’t mean being reductionist about it. In fact one of my comrades is doing some analysis of Australian profit rates (well, the profit rate for businesses in Australia) and its is high, alhugh as you point out the end of the mining boom will see it fall. That may impact on the capacity of capital to transfer int other areas such as you suggest of real estate because I suspect the profitability of doing so might not be that high.

    You say: Overall this situation is obviously contradictory – on one hand capital demands more labour-power/ on the other it is less able to fund its reproduction through the state.

    The first may or may not be true. The real level of unemployment and under-employment seems much higher than official stats. The second might be a consequence of falling profit rates across the developed world and the me tooism of the Australian bourgeoisie in following dominant trends even if profits rates are, or were until recently, relatively high in some sectors. Is Australian state less able to fund the reproduction of labour power? Maybe. Id like to see some figures. My guess is for example that the welfare state continues to receive levels of funding similar to those in the boom years etc.

  4. Thanks Comrades,
    I don’t normally comment that much as I think I have already have had my say… but a few points
    Marc: one should always read Liz’s work and I will do more of this
    Nicholas: I think credit and access to finance is part of the way that capital has shifted the funding of the ‘social wage’ onto the privatised shoulders of workers themselves; ecological barriers play two roles – as absolute barriers themselves and also as the limitations ecological struggles has won through the state – see the constant capitalist complaint about ‘green’ tape. Also Caffentzis is both a major intellectual influence and a model for me – I read that essay again and again.
    John: my problem (from conversations on the internet) with your comrade’s work is that he creates an average rate of profit through mathematical additions and averaging ( if I understand his work correctly) which is totally different from the processes of capital moving towards such an average in reality. Secondly I agree that capital has a tendency for the rate of profit to fall, what I disagree with is that this explains more than that.
    cheers
    Dave

      1. Its really crucial…and I think it can be a really useful tool in seeing how capital is generally moving ( I also think we have to factor in workers’ struggle and its relationship with changing compositions of capital – i.e. this is a motor force for the replacement of variable with constant capital). But what I am opposing is the theological usage which your organisation John is guilty of. But in a really inconsistent way: one week you are all Klimanites ‘failing rate of profit – there is no possibility of reform’ then next you are all ‘ its neoliberal ideology – tax the rich now’! ( This comment should be read 50% friendly japes, 50% vicious sectarianism.)
        More seriously even if we can say that the falling rate of profit explains the general movement towards crisis it doesn’t explain each crisis or how capital responds. Thus Marx spend so much of the Grundrisse saying ‘ okay I know it looks like money is the problem, but if you think about it…’

  5. ablokeimet

    A few points:

    1. It is certainly true that capital has tried to sell racism to the working class with the argument that immigration causes unemployment. It has also been quite successful on that point – to the extent that opinion polls have always shown a majority of people in Australia opposed to the current level of immigration and wanting it cut. This has been consistent, despite varying levels of immigration over the years, varying levels of unemployment and the constant change in the source of immigrants.

    That said, it should be obvious that every person in Australia, whether immigrant or native born, has both a pair of hands to work and a mouth to feed. That is, everyone is both a supply of labour and a demand for labour. Now, if the capitalist system is so stupid that it can’t add one person to each side of its supply and demand equation, then I think we need a more intelligent system.

    Immigration restriction, therefore, doesn’t work as an economic policy. Its value is solely to be sought on the plain of ideology, of breaking up the class consciousness of workers. And here we see the genius of John Howard, the most intelligent Tory PM Australia has ever had. He played the racism card to full effect, thus mobilising a majority behind his infamous proclamation that “we will decide who comes to this country and the circumstances in which they come” – while SIMULTANEOUSLY presiding over the largest immigration program ever seen in Australia.

    2. Capital’s difficulties with the reproduction of labour power do not stem from a diminution of resources, but from an increased demand on them:

    (a) Child care is increasingly necessary, because of the increasing proportion of women in the paid workforce. Child care places therefore have been growing faster than the population has.

    (b) Education is increasingly expensive for the capitalists, because young people have to spend a growing number of years in formal education before they can contribute fully to the production of surplus value. Their labour in flipping burgers and waiting on tables doesn’t come anywhere near financing the three and four year university degrees they need to do the jobs at the other end.

    (c) The cost of health care is ballooning, because of the action of two factors at work simultaneously. Not only is the number of old people (and thus the health costs involved in caring for them) increasing extremely rapidly, but medical care is becoming more expensive per person. This is because medical advances have rendered many previously incurable conditions treatable – but, courtesy of the capitalist market, at an exorbitantly high price.

    The first reaction to this is therefore to attempt to shift some of the burden onto individuals. Thus, child care subsidies still leave most parents seriously out of pocket. While the number of university places is rising rapidly, students are having to pay a higher proportion of the costs. Private schools proliferate as the public system moves towards being a dumping ground for the poor. And governments continue to push private health insurance, despite the proven efficiency of the public health system.

    There is also a second reaction – increasing labour force participation. There is a downward pressure on this from the increase in tertiary study, but capital can’t do much more about this than it already is. To increase participation, capital is moving to increase the number of mothers in the workforce. In this light, child care expenses should be seen not only as an aid to women with pre-school children staying in the labour force, but as an investment in their continued presence, including providing highly skilled labour. The old traditions of “last hired, first fired” have collided with the new reality that capital needs increasing numbers of workers in the occupations which a sex segregated labour market has allocated to women.

    This drive for increased labour force participation also has a dark side, of course. The attacks on supporting parent’s benefit are designed to make it impossible for a sole parent to make parenting their full time occupation after their youngest child starts school. Similarly, attacks on the disability pension are designed to drive as many people with disabilities onto the labour market as possible, regardless of their preferences or the adequacy of the jobs available to them. And finally, one cannot ignore the “work till you drop” drive that is pushing retirement out of the reach of many working class people. Back in the early 1990s, the Keating government legislated to shift the superannuation preservation age from 55 to 60, but did it cleverly by phasing it in from 2015 to 2025 – i.e. decades in the future. A few years ago, the Rudd government legislated to put the age pension eligibility age up from 65 to 67, itself a follow-up of Keating’s increase (again with a substantial delay) of the eligibility age for women from 60 to 65. The business press is vociferous in demanding that “reform” not stop there. Further increases in the pension age and the superannuation preservation age can be expected in due course, if the inadequacy of the superannuation balance of the average worker doesn’t keep them in the labour force anyway.

    3. The constant refrain from business about how it requires “flexibility” and the horrific implications for productivity of the undoing of Work Choices is staggeringly dishonest. The Workplace Relations Act of 1996 removed almost all legal ability of workers to obstruct productivity initiatives of the boss and the rest were removed by Work Choices and not restored by the “Fair” Work Act. Marx himself observed that it is the struggle of workers for higher wages that is the greatest spur for capital to improve productivity (i.e. the amount of production achieved per worker per hour). However, what the bosses are after is, quite simply, cheap labour. They want the ability to contract work out for less than the rate paid to their direct employees. It has precisely NOTHING to do with increasing productivity.

    It is for reasons like this that the Labor Party is permitted to form government occasionally. The Liberals, being organically connected to existing Big Business, often find themselves constrained to act in the interests of the individual capitalists providing their party with backing. The interests of capital itself, however, sometimes require the disciplining of individual capitalists so that the system itself is rendered more viable. When this is required, a Labor government is more able to resist the vested interests of individual capitalists and thus can be more valuable to capital.

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