[OPE-L:7074] Re: OPE-L, Women and Marxism

From: gerald_a_levy (gerald_a_levy@msn.com)
Date: Fri Apr 26 2002 - 09:29:35 EDT

Re Simon's [707l]:

> What the LTV does is to take a subset
> of the 24 hours in a day and to partition it (via the principles we all
> discuss) into paid labour time and unpaid labour time, or in the aggregate
> total wages and total profits, and it studies the time trends of these,
> what causes their movements and what the consequences are. (I am conscious
> of glossing over a large number of issues here, but never mind.) It has
> nothing to say about the rest of the hours in the day, except perhaps that
> they are a residual, a sort of domestic reservoir in which exhausted
> workers replenish their labour power in a variety of ways so that they can
> work the next day for capital. Now I think there is some truth in this (as
> presumably do we all), but only some. Call the time spent working for
> capital (producing both the equivalent of the VLP and a surplus value)
> <capitaltime>.
> Feminists would argue that there is another partition of time which
> the 24 hours into capitaltime and non-capitaltime. In the latter there is
> eating, sleeping, studying, leisure(ing), and caring for the very young,
> children, and the old and infirm. If you allow 7 hours for sleeping, the
> remainder of these activities take more time than capitaltime in developed
> industrialised economies. And a lot of it is a lot of work. In particular,
> caring activities are very labour intensive, and caring is an emotional
> activity. Consequently, these activities are very difficult for capital to
> supply:
> a) their labour intensity makes them potentially very expensive;
> b) the emotional activity of caring is very difficult to combine with the
> alienation of labour in a wage contract.
> Caring activities generally involve caring for people; more weakly they
> also apply to other noncapitaltime, as in she/he takes pride in her/his
> housework/handywork/gardening or whatever. <snip, JL>
> Caring activities may be a problem for neoclassical economics, but they
> also a big problem for Marxism. For what has value theory to say about
> them? Value theory focuses on the partition of capitaltime, but what
> determines the bigger partition into capitaltime and noncapitaltime?

This formulation of the issue (capitaltime vs. noncapitaltime) seems to me
to be broadly consistent with the analysis put forward by  Mike L in Chapter
6 of  _Beyond Capital:  Marx's Political Economy of the Working Class_
(NY, St. Martin's Press,  l992):


Then click on "onesideness-of-wage-..."  and then scroll down to the section
entitled "The Wage-Labourer as Non-Wage-Labourer".

Of particular note -- given our recent discussions -- is the extension of
the  concept of  *slavery*  (and struggles against slavery and for
emancipation) to comprehend  relations within the family.   Note also
the relation of this issue to the VLP  ("the value of labour-power will
not include provision for the necessities consumed by the slave *because
capital wants wage-labourers to have slaves*, p. ll3)  and  Mike's  claim
that Marx's argument is "entirely consistent" with the belief that "in
addition  to  capitalist relations, wage-labourers *also* existed within a
'patriarchal mode of  production', defined by Nancy Folbre as 'a set of
distinctive relations, including  but by no means limited to control over
the means of production, that structures the exploitation of women
and/or children by men'" (p. ll5).  Other sections of his  book are also
relevant -- it seems to me -- to this question: e.g. in his exposition of
productive labour,  Mike counterposes what is productive labor from
the standpoint of capital (labor which creates surplus value) to
productive labour from the standpoint of the working class (and I think
the caring activities that you describe,  where they are non-waged
activities, fall clearly into the later category.)  Viewed at from this
perspective, the breaking-down of the day into capitaltime  and
noncapital time is an expression of how the wage-labourer is also
non-wage-labourer.   Anyway ... what do you (and others) think of
Mike's  analysis  of  this question?  Is it misleading or not?  Is it a
sufficient analysis or, if  not, what elements of a theory for a
comprehension of noncapitaltime are missing?

In solidarity, Jerry

PS:  Simon wrote that: "There's some interesting work in Australia by
Michael Bittman plus  collaborators on noncapitaltime;".  Most of his
papers are are:  http://www.sprc.unsw.edu.au/dp/

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