Labour aristocracy

From: Simon Mohun (s.mohun@QMUL.AC.UK)
Date: Mon Jan 05 2004 - 08:14:15 EST

>Paul B wrote:
>What is actually clear is that relatively few producers/corporations  in the
>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 the
>market ( UK Competition regs)), and that this 'monopoly' allows huge profits
>which are in part are used to provide payments to sections of the work force
>to ensure loyalty and stability to the system.

I don't think this is actually clear. What sections of the work force are
being referred to? My computations for the US, using BLS statistics for
hourly wage rates of production workers in all sectors of the economy (83
per cent of employed workers), making very rough adjustments for direct
taxes, social security contributions and receipt of state cash benefits,
and deflating by the NDP deflator, seem to show that

in 1978, real hourly product wages were 11.79 and by 2000 had risen to 11.97.

A total of 18 cents of a 1996 dollar over 22 years doesn't seem like an
increase which would ensure loyalty and stability to the system.

For nonproduction workers (17 per cent of the workforce), real hourly
product wages were 20.88 in 1978 and 34.89 in 2000. Is it these workers
(with supervisory responsibilities) to which the labour aristocracy
hypothesis refers?



Simon Mohun
Centre for Business Management,
Queen Mary, University of London,
Mile End Road,
London E1 4NS,

Tel: +44-(0)20-7882-5089 (direct); +44-(0)20-7882-3167 (Dept. Office); Fax:


This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Fri Jan 09 2004 - 00:00:01 EST