Re: Labour aristocracy

From: Paul Zarembka (zarembka@BUFFALO.EDU)
Date: Thu Jan 15 2004 - 19:07:10 EST

--On Thursday, January 15, 2004 11:23 PM +0000 Paul Cockshott
<clyder@GN.APC.ORG> wrote:

> Could the high rate of surplus value in Mexico be
> caused by the following mechanism.
> 1. Wage rates are determined by the rate of productivity
>    in the non-internationally traded sector, and held low
>    due to the continued existence of a substantial agricultural
>    sector.

Wage rates are determined by the exchange value of labor power (which, of
course, leaves a lot to discuss), not by productivity.  The latter would
seem quite neoclassical, at least as stated.

> 2. The factories of multinationals trading internationally
>    can take advantage of those low wage rates and sell their
>    product at a dollar price only slightly below the dollar
>    price of similar factories in the USA.

You're taking the technology itself to be quite similar; I don't quarrel
with that.

> 3. This gives these factories an above average rate of
>    surplus value. Higher both than the Mexican or US average.

I don't understand.  As Simon would say, the exchange value of labor power
is determined at the macro level, not factory by factory.  When wages
throughout an economy are the same and workers work the same weekly hours,
s/v is the same.

> 4. Because of their higher value productivity per hour when
>    compared to the non-internationally traded sector, the
>    firms in the internationally traded sector exercise a weight
>    in the national accounts that is disproportionate to the
>    number of workers employed.
> 5. Because of 3 and 4 above the net effect is to raise the
>    average social rate of surplus value for the Mexican
>    economy relative to the US economy despite the much
>    lower productivity of the Mexican economy.

My responses to 1-3 would seem to obviate a need to reply to 4-5.  Or at
least 4-5 can be postponed.


RESEARCH IN POLITICAL ECONOMY,  Paul Zarembka, editor, Elsevier Science

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