[OPE-L] management and leadership under capitalism and socialism

From: glevy@PRATT.EDU
Date: Fri Nov 03 2006 - 08:36:50 EST

> Indeed, Fred Moseley codes ALL supervisory and managerial
> workers as unproductive with respect to new value added, which affects his
> s/v AND s/c+V estimates. Yet there is almost no textual basis for that in
> what Marx himself said! I have always been aware of the TSV train of
> thought, but I am also aware that subsequently Marx wrote more about it,
> and developed a more refined sense of capitalistically productive

Hi Jurriaan:

Yes, he wrote elsewhere and later about the wages of superintendence,

a) he never directly contradicted the idea that the wages of superintendence
do not enter into the average rate of profit;

b) he never explicitly suggested that the wages of superintendence represent
a portion of variable capital;

c) he never explicitly suggested that the wages of superintendence represent
a portion of constant capital.

So, there is no _direct_ textual evidence to show that Marx thought that
the wages of superintendence enter into the determination of the average
rate of profit.  There are, however, numerous passages which suggest that
unproductive labor should be counted as a deduction from profit ... so
I think Fred stands on firm grounds for his interpretation.

> We
> should not simply look at the texts, we should also think of the
> substantive
> idea that inspires those texts. Otherwise we drift off into anarchism and
> "anything goes". Anarchists don't like authority, but they have very
> little idea about why authority exists, at all.

At the risk of offending, I have to say that is a very uninformed
position on anarchism and anarchist scholarship.

>>> In quite a few Yugoslav enterprises under
socialism, you had a situation where the director said: "okay, so you want
me to lead this enterprise - but then either you accept my leadership or you
don't, and if you don't, then I am off, and if you don't pay me adequately
for my responsibility I am off", and the workers bloody well knew that, so
they didn't simply criticise him for his status, but for what he actually
did. They realised they did need a "conductor" for the "orchestra" and that
just playing their own tune wouldn't get the job done. <<<

Oh my.  Self-management does not mean simply appointing a manager.
It means jointly deciding on how to administer and coordinate a
worksite.  If a manager said what you suggest, then enlightened
workers should remove her/him forthwith!

(4) Much controversy surrounds the excessively high salaries of managers,
directors, executives etc. which contrasts with the paltry wages of ordinary
workers. But as against this, it should also be noted that many modern
enterprises are very large, and that these type of functions also mean
carrying a very large RESPONSIBILITY for a very large amount of resources
and employees' lives, and can mean workweeks of 60 hours or more. <<<

So what?  "Responsibility" or working hours does not determine whether
someone is productive of surplus value.  Many capitalists also put in
a lot of hours "working" but that doesn't mean that their "work"
creates surplus value.

>>> Of course, in a socialist economy you do not really have "bosses" as
such, you mainly have "leaders" who lead on the basis of proven and
transparent competency. <<<

Leadership is about more than "competency".  Good administration
and organization require more than ensuring that the trains run on time.
Leadership concerns more how you relate to people and this is
_especially_ true for a progressive and enlightened (genuine)

That would be a real "meritocracy", not the ideology of a meritocracy which
provides a cover for inherited status and wealth. You become a leader in
your area of expertise because you have proved that you have a competency,
and that you can really lead people in the direction of progress, rather
than up the garden path or something. <<<

No, real leadership -- i.e. leadership that does not rest on a coercive
relationship; when leaders are voluntarily selected in a process
where there is self-rule --  arises out of respect rather than
mere competence.  If you want to know what would be good management
under socialism ask yourself what makes good radical political organizers
under capitalism.  Being an effective organizer/leader isn't simply about
copying and distributing leaflets, etc.  It isn't synonymous with being an
activist.  It requires "human relations" skills -- e.g. the ability to
listen, the demonstrated capacity to respect others you are working with,
showing that you are a leader through your _actions_, good faith and
compassion towards others, etc.

> And so there is a continuing dialogue
between leaders and the masses, rather than a monologue of the powerful.<

Enlightened leaders view themselves as _part of_ the "masses" rather
than a group apart.  Enlightened leaders don't reproduce hierarchical
and authoritarian relations.

In solidarity, Jerry

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