Re: [OPE-L] Hiring of labour-power?

From: michael a. lebowitz (mlebowit@SFU.CA)
Date: Sun Dec 12 2004 - 18:15:52 EST

Off-hand, my quick reaction is that purchasing labour-power for a given
time-period might be described as renting in terms of terminology. The real
issue is whether it is implied that the purchaser/renter is paying for a
determinate quantity of 'rental services'-- ie., whether the Marxian
distinction between labour and labour-power is being obliterated in the
process. Maybe yes, maybe no in the particular cases Jurrian cites.
Certainly you can maintain the traditional terminology but completely
abandon the concept (eg., by assuming a fixed relation between workers and
units of labour).
         in sol,
At 13:30 12/12/2004, you wrote:
>Do others have answers to Jurriaan's question?
>In solidarity, Jerry
>---------------------------- Original Message --------------
>Subject: Hiring of labour-power?
>From:    "Jurriaan Bendien" <>
>Date:    Sun, December 12, 2004 11:36 am
>I have a small query maybe you can help me with. In Capital, Marx argues
>that essentially the wage-contract means that labour-power is purchased,
>not  labour-time; thus, the relation between the wage and work-time is a
>formality, it does not describe the substance of the economic exchange.
>However, authors such as Geoffrey Hodgson (Capitalism, Value and
>Exploitation) and Alexander Gersch (On the theory of economic exchange)
>object that labour-power is not purchased (bought) but "hired". I wonder
>whether any author has serious investigated this distinction conceptually,
>  and the implications of the two different views?

Michael A. Lebowitz
Professor Emeritus
Economics Department
Simon Fraser University
Burnaby, B.C., Canada V5A 1S6

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