(OPE-L) labor aristocracy, wages, and the value of labour power

From: gerald_a_levy (gerald_a_levy@MSN.COM)
Date: Mon Jan 05 2004 - 07:42:52 EST

Paul B and David Y:

I agree that monopolies -- if broadly interpreted, rather than narrowly
understood as "pure monopolies" in mainstream theory,  are far more
generalized today than in the time of Engels (or Lenin).  One only has to
look  at the statistics for market concentration in major world markets
and comprehend the role of  huge transnational corporations -- for the
most part,  oligopolies --  to observe this.

It also seems to me to be self-evident on one level that the wages of
workers employed in the imperialist nations has grown, _in part_, as a
consequence of imperialism -- in the sense that the profit received (and the
surplus value transferred) by corporations in the advanced capitalist
nations has increased the bargaining power of workers in those nations and
made possible higher wages. [NB: 'made possible' is different from
ensuring.]   Nowhere is this process more apparent than in the transnational
corporations themselves since workers in different nations and regions
receive different wages for producing the same commodities.

And, I certainly agree that this process has involved the complicity of
trade union 'leaders' with imperialist institutions and objectives.

Having said that, let me ask you a couple of questions that concern the
relation of your perspective on labor aristocracy to basic theory:

1)  when wages in the imperialist nations go up, does this mean that the
'customary' and 'moral' component of the wage, and hence the value of
labour-power, has risen?

2) Or, does it mean that wages in the imperialist nations rise above the
value of labor power?   For the imperialized nations, do wages fall below
the value of labour-power?

What are the implications of  1) vs. 2) for the production of surplus-value
by workers in the imperialist vs. the imperialized nations?

In solidarity, Jerry

> Paul C response to DY's  statement  seems to me to be strange indeed.  Is
> stating that 'globalisation' ( whatever this is.......a more amorphous
> notion one would find hard to find!) has somehow abolished monopoly?
> then various EU / US state agencies are barking up wrong trees! quite
> from the serious disappointment in their careers that so many writers and
> 'economic' investigators  will now suffer at the hands of PC's discovery!
> What is actually clear is that relatively few producers/corporations  in
> world, lets say 300, headquartered in very few states lets say 10, but
> mostly in the US, have a monopoly ( in the sensible sense of over 25% of
> market ( UK Competition regs)), and that this 'monopoly' allows huge
> which are in part are used to provide payments to sections of the work
> to ensure loyalty and stability to the system.

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Wed Jan 07 2004 - 00:00:00 EST