Re: [OPE-L] Theoretical issues concerning variable capital

From: Rakesh Bhandari (bhandari@BERKELEY.EDU)
Date: Thu Oct 12 2006 - 09:58:46 EDT

What you don't lay out is what Marx could not have said about wage
labour if he had stuck to the six book plan and decoupled the study
of capital from the study of wage labour rather than understand their
mutual relation in a unified study of economic reproduction of the
capitalist mode of production, composed of three great classes.

Just to reiterate one main point: the employer rightfully owns the
net and gross product because in accepting the apparently advanced
variable capital the workers have ceded their right to it (and agreed
to work to rule).

Through his study of reproduction Marx shows however that wages have
not been advanced but allotted out of the appropriated product. The
basis of bourgeois right is thus undermined through scientific
discovery of the real process which has been dissimulated.

This seems to me to be a a more fundamental (though not necessarily
more important) discovery than all the determinants of wages in all
the different sectors and nation states.

As Lapides put it, the theory of the wage labor is not the same as a
theory of wages.

Does anyone have Lapides' email address?

I side with him against Michael's and Ajit's criticisms.


>Hi Ajit:
>My position on Marx's perspective on wages is that it
>can only be understood in the context of the logic of the
>6-book-plan.  My perspective on wages is that it can
>only be grasped in general with reference to the inter-relation
>of capital as a whole, class action, the state, foreign trade,
>and the world market.  More specific understanding of wages
>in a social formation, region, etc. requires a grasp of  the
>empirical and historical data and the historical realities of stratification
>and discrimination in the market for labour power.  Like yourself
>-- even more so -- I have made my thoughts on these issues known
>on this and other mailing lists over the years and I don't want to
>bore listmembers by repeated it all over again at length. In
>general, I endorse Mike L's perspective on wage determination.
>In solidarity,
>>  You need to develop confidence to say something, otherwise
>>  there is no point in writing.
>I am 52-years-old and I can honestly say that you are the
>first person who has suggested that I lack self-confidence.

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