[OPE-L:7084] Re: Re: Re: the value[s] of labour power, nationally and internationally

From: Diego (diego.guerrero@cps.ucm.es)
Date: Sun Apr 28 2002 - 16:31:05 EDT

<<I have a question to pose to Diego. If the basket of consumption is historically determined and change -- that is, the elements that compose such a basket change -- what can we say about the value of that basket? Does it tend to increase? Does it tend to decrease? If the value of the basket tend to increase, given the lenght of the working day, we would have a reduction in relative surplus value. The contrary of what Marx argued. I think the evolution of the value of labor power is an important issue. It hasn't been tackled on its own right but only via the analysis of the rate of surplus value. The increase in the rate of surplus value, however, does not disclose to us the dynamic behind the evolution of the value of the labor power. It is only compatible with a rise VLP. Does naybody know any empirical analysis of the evolution of the value of labor power, that is, basket and price of the basket in different periods? 
Paulo Cipolla >>

Hi, Paulo,

I don't understand some sentences in your comment. For instance: "It is only compatible with a rise VLP".

For me, the value of labor power declines, like the value of every commodity, but more slowly, i.e, its relative value (compared with the general commodity) rises. I think Marx thought that the nominal and real wage would tend to increase in the long-run, but the "relative wage" (in Ricardo's sense as Marx attributes it to him) would tend to increase, i.e., the rate of surplus-value tends to increase. The fact that the basket is increasing in physical terms is perfectly compatible with its decrease as a mass of value (like in the case of a car or other complex commodities whose value is diminishing despite the growth in their content: the elements which enter in them and the "services" generated for their consumers). I think that Grossmann explained why the real wage must rise even if we abstract from the existence of class struggles: it is due to the constant growth in the intensity of labor. This is why the relative VLP (compared to other commodities' value) tends to increase.

I'm not sure, but I think that in the book mentioned by Alejandro Valle in [7083] Jacques Gouverneur puts some statistics about this for the UE countries.


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