[OPE-L:8329] Education and Value

From: gerald_a_levy (gerald_a_levy@msn.com)
Date: Mon Jan 13 2003 - 16:22:49 EST

Re Paul A's [8327]:

> To focus on overall skill levels -- I'm curious if you and others on
> the list would agree with me: while the data are very difficult to
> synthesize, have not the cognitive resources of US workers -- the
> combined result of childhood socialization, education, training,
> on-the-job learning -- increased on average over the last 100 years?


> If you grant that these cognitive resources have increased, then as
> marxists, we have to ask ourselves whether and where this fits with
> our basic story. (Of course, out story also has to accomodate the
> many cases of real deskilling we observe --such as the supermarket
> cashiers.) It seems to me that it fits nicely with the paleo-marxist
> story I summarized.

How does this fit in with 'our basic story', you ask.  Presumably you
and others will also grant that the standard for what has become
simple average labour varies internationally and temporally.  Indeed,
if one focuses on the effect of education on workers 'cognitive
resources', one can easily determine that there are different standards
internationally as a result of differing educational/social/cultural

In describing 'simple average labour',  Marx notes that it "varies in
character in different countries and at different cultural epochs, but in a
particular society it is given"  (_Capital_, Volume 1, Penguin ed., p. 135).
When we look at different social formations and expand our time horizon
so that a society and culture can itself change, we see that the 'basic
story' becomes more complex.

* How would you and others explain more concretely this complexity
vis-a-vis the 'reduction' from complex to 'simple labour' in world markets?

* Is there any kind of  social mechanism that leads over time to  less
international disparity for simple average labour standards in different
social formations?

* What has been the role of the state -- and  workers' struggles -- in
changing social standards for simple average labour?

In solidarity, Jerry

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