[OPE-L:2428] Re: Re: the employment contract and capitalism

From: riccardo bellofiore (bellofio@cisi.unito.it)
Date: Sun Feb 27 2000 - 12:29:35 EST

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At 18:06 +0100 27-02-2000, C. J. Arthur wrote:

>As Ernesto S said [23/02] there arises a power
>relation in which labour has to be extracted from the worker. At the heart
>of the capital relation is not the peaceful juridical transfer of a
>commodity (as the labour contract superficially suggests) but continual
>contestation of its exploitation. Thus the use value of this "commodity"
>(labour productivity) is not secured ex ante but only known ex post as a
>result. To answer Steve K this is precisely why value is constituted
>through the (ex)appropriation of labour.

I'm not sure this is exactly what Ernesto S. said. For example, ES wrote
the 23/02:

"The obbligation to obedience is established by the contract, is legitimised
by the law of labour, is enforced by a repression system (police forces
etc.). controlled by the state. When there is the obbligation, the
legitimation and the enforcement system, then there are the conditions for
a real subordination. When the employers exert their commands there is a
real subordination."

In the last phrase it seems that the distinction you rightly pose between
ex-ante and ex-post, and the stress on continual contestation of
exploitation, is lost. "When the employers exert their commands there is a
real subordination". Here, by the way, not only the command is already
there in the exchange on the labour market, simply to be 'exerted', but
also the real subordination is reduced to a struggle between the employers
and the workers, without passing through the objectification in science and
technology. I know that Ernesto would probably politically agree with this.
The problem to me is to understand if he agrees also theoretically, since
the content of your post, Chris, to me is nothing but the essence of the
labour theory of value as the theory of exploitation.


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