Re: (OPE-L) Re: the real wage, and the production of surplus value

From: paul cockshott (clyder@GN.APC.ORG)
Date: Tue Dec 09 2003 - 07:33:32 EST

I know that it declined   over that period, but over
the 60s it went up. I have done empirical work
measuring this, but these differences are fluctuations
by a multiplicative factor of less then 2. What
I am saying is we need a theory of the order of
magnitude that we actually observe.

If real wages in the USA were the same as those
in Bangladesh, we would have a wage share that
was different by an order of magnitude.

-----Original Message-----
From: OPE-L [mailto:OPE-L@SUS.CSUCHICO.EDU] On Behalf Of gerald_a_levy
Sent: 08 December 2003 23:32
Subject: (OPE-L) Re: the real wage, and the production of surplus value

Paul C wrote:

> It tends to be of the order of 50%, why not 1% or 99%.

Well, I'd still like to know the range.  I suspect significant
variations temporally and spatially in the world capitalist

> If we dont have a general theory that can explain a basic
> and consistent feature of capitalism we are not doing well.
> We could relegate this to conjunctural factors, but that
> would be a copout like explaining the existence of profit
> by 'conjunctural factors'.

Let's take some (relatively) recent history.  An examination
of  the empirical evidence for the US and UK economies would
likely show that the 'wage share in national income'  was not
steady during the 1980's but rather declined.   We don't need
a sophisticated theoretical explanation for this development.
Instead, we would be better off examining the offensive by capital
against labor by the Reagan and Thatcher governments and the
give-back (concessions) movement.  If you want to make a more
general statement, perhaps it would concern a major way that
capital has historically overcome crisis and promoted accumulation.

In any event, you are asserting without demonstrating that a
stable wage share of national income has been a "basic and
consistent feature of capitalism."    Let's take a look at the data, shall

In solidarity, Jerry

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