Re: [OPE-L] wages of superientendence

From: Jerry Levy (Gerald_A_Levy@MSN.COM)
Date: Thu Nov 09 2006 - 09:56:54 EST

> If they are paid out of profits, why do the wages of superintendence not
> enter into the formation of the average rate of profit?

Hi Jurriaan:

Faux frais don't enter into the formation of an average rate of profit
either, right?  They can be treated in a similar way.

> In the US in 2002, you had about 16 million people classified as
> "managers/executives" of some description and about 9 million classified
> as
> supervisors (BLS data). That's a total of 25 million people or so in an
> employed civilian labour force of 137 million at that time, or about 18%
> (one in 5.5 employees approximately). I do not really know US society
> sufficiently well to know what supervisors actually do there, of course
> they
> could be just "office cocks" etc. (but a large number are women).

Unless you have a reliable method for disaggregating the statistics, then
the numbers won't do what you want them to do.  As I understand
what you have been saying,  some proportion of the wages of
superintendence should  be treated as representing variable capital.
Yet, you have offered no way of taking the statistics and breaking-
down the compensation offered to managers/executives as
value-creating and non-value creating.  Nor have you demonstrated
that even if some proportion of the wages of superintendence
represent variable capital that is a statistically significant amount.

>  You are correct, Marx's concept of value-creation is
> different from the statistical concept; at best the statistical concept is
> only an empirical indicator of the trend, and you have to rework the data
> to get more sense out of it.

My point is that, irrespective of what Marx did or did not believe,
I don't see how the data can be reworked to do what you want it to do.

> In order to verify the productive role of managerial/supervisory labour,
> you
> would have to examine all the different categories of that activity that
> there are, and see what it is that they actually do, e.g. do they mainly
> exercise only a control function, or do they mainly perform a productive
> coordinating function that is an essential part of a production process
> (or do they engage in straightforward production).

What exactly are you proposing in terms of how this would be done?
Would you have a study of every branch of production?  Would you pick
some branches or firms which -- for whatever reasons -- are assumed
to be representative?  Note that even if you were to do this analysis
for one social formation there is no reason to believe that the same
results hold in other social formations: e.g. you couldn't simply take the
results from an analysis of the role of management/supervisory labour
in US industries and apply those to the data on national accounts from
Japan or Sweden, where the roles of management/supervision and their
compensation are significantly different.

> In national accounts, stock options and profit-sharing arrangements are
> often included in "compensation of employees", although they can be a
> simple appropriation of profit income.

Yes.  How would you determine what the amount to be subtracted from
the gross figure should be?

In solidarity, Jerry

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