[OPE-L:8364] Re: Education and Value

From: gerald_a_levy (gerald_a_levy@msn.com)
Date: Mon Jan 20 2003 - 09:29:16 EST

Re Paul C's [8359]:

Let me begin on a point of agreement: I agree with 3. in [8359].

Putting aside that source of agreement for now,  I want to take issue 
with a couple of points you made:

> 1. For a group to have a potentially progressive role, they have to
>     see their activity as persisting and being better rewarded in the
>     future society. (snip)

Groups of workers can't even be _potentially_ progressive unless
they view themselves as being better off in a future (socialist) society???

Let us recall here that we're talking about the productive/unproductive
labor distinction and that the ratio of productive to unproductive
workers has been steadily declining over the long term (as the empirical
work by Anwar, Fred and others demonstrates).  For you to then say
that large segments of workers who are unproductive of surplus value
can't even be _potentially_ progressive is tantamount to saying that
large amounts of workers -- perhaps even including a majority -- will
not be supportive of  socialism. Oops ... there goes the revolution.

> 4. Reciept of surplus value as an income source puts banking workers
>    objectively opposed to the working class and this is reflected in
>   politics - see how they vote.

State employees receive wages that are paid out of revenues, i.e. they
are in receipt of surplus value as an income source,  and hence
are unproductive of surplus value.  Does this then also mean that they
are "objectively opposed to the working class"???

I offer a counter-hypothesis:  *the distinction between productive and
unproductive labor can not be used as a criteria to determine who
is a member of the working class*, i.e. the working class is composed
of _both_ productive and unproductive laborers.   There is a very real
political danger of  identifying the criteria  for determining whether
groups are productive of surplus value with the criteria for determining 
which groups are members of the working class.  Indeed, if we simply 
identify productive labor with the working class, i.e. treat the two 
expressions as synonymous,  then we give up on the possibility of real 
working class unity and solidarity and with it the possibility of 

We also have to remember that what is analyzed in _Capital_ is
which workers are "productive" or "unproductive" from the
*standpoint of capital*.  In _recognizing_ this distinction, we can not
take it over wholesale since the *working-class perspective* on who
is "productive" is not the same as the capitalist perspective. From
a working-class perspective,  workers need to comprehend how they
are *united*  regardless of their diversity even while coming to terms
with that diversity.  This *unity-in-diversity* by the working class
presupposes that alliances will be developed among all workers
including those who political economy defines as being unproductive.

(NB: this does not, though, necessarily mean that managers are
productive of surplus-value.  In addition to your point 3. in [8359],
we should note that although they receive wages, they are not necessarily 
wage *workers*.   Even capitalists themselves, after all, can pay 
themselves wages: this accounting maneuver does not miraculously 
transform them into wage-workers.)

Solidarity, Jerry

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Tue Jan 21 2003 - 00:00:00 EST