[OPE-L:6424] Re: Re: The significance of labor power commodification

From: Gil Skillman (gskillman@MAIL.WESLEYAN.EDU)
Date: Tue Jan 22 2002 - 13:47:02 EST

In 6418, Paul Z writes

>I think you should say "capital accesses workers' labor power", not
>"workers gain access to capital".  You have the power relation upside down.

Paul, I'll accept the emendation, but no assessment of extant power
relations is implied by the observation that workers "free in the double
sense" must somehow gain access to the means of production, even if only by
submitting to capitalist control of production.  Part of my point is that
this is not the only possibility: in principle, workers could also borrow
money to finance the purchase of means of production or lease constant
capital goods directly.  If we are to find analytical reasons why these
alternative possibilities don't typically work in practice--and thus why
connecting labor power with means of production typically implies a power
relation favoring capitalists, as you insist--we must look beyond Marx's
analysis in Volume I, Part 2 of Capital.  The point of my Chapter 5
critique is that we must look beyond that argument in any case, since
Marx's explicitly stated grounds for focusing on the commodification of
labor power as the basis for exploiting workers under the capitalist mode
of production is (I argue) invalid.


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