[OPE-L:6428] Re: Re: Re: The significance of labor power commodification

From: Paul Cockshott (paul@cockshott.com)
Date: Wed Jan 23 2002 - 04:41:53 EST

On Tue, 22 Jan 2002, you wrote:
> In response to my question 
> >> Is the commodification of labor power *essential* or *incidental* to the
> >> process of transforming money into capital, according to Marx's account in
> >> Volume I of Capital?
> Paul C. writes in 6409:
> >Whatever input counts as the substance of value will generate the
> >same paradox. If one constructs input output tables computing oil values
> >you get the paradox that the price of one barrel of oil is less than one
> >barrel, just as the price of one hour of labour is less than one hour.
> Assuming a positive rate of exploitation, that is, and there's nothing
> "paradoxical" about it.  Of course I agree--Roemer generalizes this point
> in his Generalized Commodity Exploitation Theorem--but this misses the
> point of my question:  is the fact that workers gain access to capital *by
> selling their labor power as a commodity*--rather than, say, borrowing
> money to finance constant capital costs or leasing capital goods
> directly--essential to the process of creating surplus value under the
> capitalist mode of production, according to Marx's account in Volume I of
> Capital?

Yes because of the real subsumption of labour to capital. Of course the
formal subsumption under manufacture leaves open the possiblity of 
independent workers hiring their means of production, and the formal
subsumption continues to exist in parallel with the real subsumption.
But modern technology makes the scale of the means of production
required for most production processes so large that workers can not
do this. This is one point of the anlysis of machinery and modern industry.

> Gil 
> >> Gil
> >-- 
> >Paul Cockshott, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, Scotland
> >0141 330 3125  mobile:07946 476966
> >paul@cockshott.com
> >http://www.dcs.gla.ac.uk/people/personal/wpc/
> >http://www.dcs.gla.ac.uk/~wpc/reports/index.html
> >
Paul Cockshott, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, Scotland
0141 330 3125  mobile:07946 476966

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