[OPE-L:4792] Re: rent and the working class

From: glevy@pratt.edu
Date: Thu Jan 25 2001 - 14:46:02 EST

Re Allin's [OPE-L:4791]:

> The price of inputs to the
> production of any given commodity could rise (or fall) for a
> host of contingent reasons having nothing to do with changes in
> the conditions of production or the labour-time it takes to
> produce them (e.g. short-run supply/demand issues).  Such
> changes will alter cost price.Therefore on Fred's reading they
> will also change the value of the output commodity.  This seems
> theoretically unacceptable: _values_ would be affected by any
> and all factors that influence market prices.  Then what's
> happened to the idea that values are determined by the socially
> necessary labour-time required for a commodity's production?

Er ... I guess that depends on the meaning of "socially necessary"
in "SNLT". 

What do you make of the possibility of a reduction of wages below their value?  I think that Marx is very clear about two points: (1) it lies outside of the analysis of "capital in general"; (2) it is 
an important development that is a counter-acting influence to the law of the tendency for the general rate of profit to decline. 

Indeed, it can be argued that in recent decades this has been a strategy of choice by the capitalist class internationally as a way of recovering from economic crises. E.g. the "concessions movement" of the 1980's might be viewed (in part) in this context. Similarly, the austerity programs imposed by the IMF and the WB might be thought of (in part)in this context.

Of course, when we are talking about rent for working-class housing, we are talking about class struggle between landowners and wage-laborers (and often with bank capital and "developers" aligned with landowners). This type of class struggle wasn't systematically discussed in _Capital_, was it?

In solidarity, Jerry

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