Re: [OPE-L] Abstraction

From: Rakesh Bhandari (bhandari@BERKELEY.EDU)
Date: Wed Jun 13 2007 - 04:12:01 EDT

>Your articles are an interesting comment on the failure of the US
>medical system (it is too expensive and allows all the moral hazards
>of private insurance to flourish). Indian doctors may be cheaper in
>US dollar terms but are not necessarily less skilled than US doctors
>(though some are, no doubt). I don't think this is a matter of supply
>and demand although the US system restricts supply of doctors. It has
>more to do with bargaining power and the absurdity of putting on the
>market a service for which competition can easily be restricted.
>Surgical skill is not necessarily the province of a few: see the
>Cuban medical system which has many more doctors overall per capita
>than the US system.
>However, I don't see the relevance of this to simple and complex
>labour: unless it is to show that treating skilled labour as simple
>labour multiplied is hardly likely to account for its cost in any
>particular system!

Not sure whether you mean here-- the cost of the product (surgery) or
the cost of the labor power.

Surgery has not, perhaps cannot become a commodity business. It is
surely not a machine process.  But there are or may well soon be
pressures even here (!) from global competition to have surgery
priced as an objectification of compounded labor time, including as
Rubin insists  the labor time society has wasted on who became the
failed competitors in the training of successful and practicing
But surgery is an outlier, not a typical example of the commodities
produced by qualified labor. I don't think it was fair of Michael P
to dismiss Marx's theory on the basis of this example.

Writing and trouble shooting code, checking speeds and gates on a
microchip would seem to  me to be more interesting examples...Here
there may be fewer failed competitors and wasted time as a result of
improved education compared to say 30 years ago, a reduction in the
special training time required, and rising productivity due to
computer tools. So one sees the multiple at which their respective
products trade against commodities produced mostly by simple average
labor reduced over the last 35 years or so with the resultant
colonization of social life by  computers, cell phones and other
microchip products.

ps Have enjoyed this conversation but won't be able to participate any more.

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