[OPE-L:6431] The significance of labor power commodification

From: Alejandro Ramos (aramos@btl.net)
Date: Wed Jan 23 2002 - 10:42:18 EST

Re Gil's 6416 and Paul C.'s 6416:


>From Gil's 6416 in his exchange with Paul C.:

>> ...this misses the
>> point of my question:  is the fact that workers gain access to capital...

I think that, in real capitalism *workers* cannot "gain access" to
*capital*. They can "access" the *means of production*, which is not the
same, and this only temporally. They do not become the *owners* of the
means of production.

>> *by
>> selling their labor power as a commodity*--rather than, say, borrowing
>> money to finance constant capital costs or leasing capital goods
>> directly

How can "workers" borrow money or lease "capital goods" if they have no
*property* guarantees to offer to the bankers? Are you assuming the the
State gives them access to credit or something similar?

What is the definition of "worker" with which you are arguing here?

>> --essential to the process of creating surplus value under the
>> capitalist mode of production, according to Marx's account in Volume I of
>> Capital?

>From Paul C's 6428:

>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.

Paul, I do agree with you here but I think the problem is not "the scale of
the means of production" in itself but the *money-value* which is necessary
to purchase them. Imagine we are in Wonderland and the whole US auto
industry is offered to the Auto Workers Unions for $100. The huge material
scale of the means of production involved wouldn't be a problem for ending
the "real subsumption" you mention.


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