Re: [OPE-L] Abstraction-human capital

From: cmgermer@UFPR.BR
Date: Fri Jun 15 2007 - 08:19:00 EDT

Capital is a relation between dead labour and living labour, capital
taking the form of the ownership of the means of production separated from
the living labour, the worker. To accept the concept of human capital it
is necessary to oppose the owner of human capital to labour power in a
process of production of surplus value, where the owner of human capital
would be the capitalist. How would you explain it?

> I am not sure I understand your rejection of human capital. In Marx's
> theory, fixed capital is a source of value but not of surplus value.
> Similarly, human fixed capital will be a source of value but not
> surplus value. The distinction between human fixed capital and
> inhuman is that human fixed capital is exercised through human
> labour, though of a specialized kind. Both inhuman and human fixed
> capital contribute to the use-vale of the product and contribute to
> there being a surplus product. The point about singling out labour as
> the source of value added is that labour is is purposive activity
> controlled through social relations of production that gives rise to
> contestable  claims to a share of the product of social cooperation.
> Machinery cannot step forward to claim a share of cooperation.
> Otherwise, machinery and labour power are on a similar footing (Hence
> Brody, Steedman, Wolff, et, al. argue that a productive Sraffa style
> system can have a "steel theory of value", or 'land theory of value'
> etc.) So the exercise of human capital will give rise to a claim
> based on the exercise of the skill in labour and a claim based on the
> fraction of the value of training passed on each year equal to the
> fraction a year is of an average working life. There will be a
> further issue of the fact that some skills increase before they
> decline because of on the job training and the use value of skills
> will vary because of differential aptitude, etc. This could be dealt
> with as a matter of specialized skill amplified, so that the abstract
> labour involved in the exercise of more productive versions of the
> specialized skill will be greater than that in the exercise of less
> productive versions in proportion to their productivity. Schefold did
> some work on issues of fixed capital for a Sraffa style system that
> might cast some light on the issue of amortization when skills
> increase. The analysis of skilled labour is a bit of a work in
> progress, I guess. So I am not sure the above suggestion is the best
> solution of the problem.
>>You are invoking 3 things here
>>1. The labour time of the surgeon
>>2. Human Capital
>>3. Rent
>>I am happy enough with the first and the last - under conditions of
>>scarcity surgeons may earn rent. The notion of Human Capital though is
>>one I am reluctant to accept. It stems, I
>>Think from applying the neoclassical notion of capital as a source of
>>value to humans, but in Marx's theory capital is not a source of value,
>>so why should Human Capital be?
>>-----Original Message-----
>>From: OPE-L [mailto:OPE-L@SUS.CSUCHICO.EDU] On Behalf Of Ian Hunt
>>Sent: 14 June 2007 11:58
>>Subject: Re: [OPE-L] Abstraction
>>Dear Paul
>>   I should have added that you  can get the value of the special skill
>>by Rubin and Hilferding's method. But the longer time is not just
>>doing the same work slowly, it involves different concrete labours
>>from surgery. The labour of learning takes years rather than just a
>>pause to look up the DIY bricklaying guide. It may be only a
>>quantitative difference but this amounts to the difference between
>>trained labour power and a special skill. Therefore, rather than say
>>that more hours of abstract labour are contained in the concrete
>>labour of surgery, it would be better to say that the skill (as a bit
>>of fixed human capital) imparts its value to the product on top of
>>the labour the surgeon does. If the skills are scarce, there will be
>>rent earned on top.
>>>I only meant that you cannot get an ordinarily skilled person to do
>>>the work of a surgeon over a longer period of time, as you can get an
>>>ordinarily skilled person to do the work of a bricklayer, though over
>>>a longer period of time
>>>Are surgeons then from a different species?
>>>All trades, that of surgeon included, involve a time acquiring the
>>>Thus over a longer period of time you can get any person to do it -
>>>that you set aside the time for them to gain the skill. This longer
>>  >period
>>>also applies to bricklaying - if it is to be done soundly rather than
>>>a botched job of it. The time to aquire some skills is shorter than
>>>but there is not a qualitative difference.
>>Associate Professor Ian Hunt,
>>Dept  of Philosophy, School of Humanities,
>>Director, Centre for Applied Philosophy,
>>Flinders University of SA,
>>Humanities Building,
>>Bedford Park, SA, 5042,
>>Ph: (08) 8201 2054 Fax: (08) 8201 2784
> --
> Associate Professor Ian Hunt,
> Dept  of Philosophy, School of Humanities,
> Director, Centre for Applied Philosophy,
> Flinders University of SA,
> Humanities Building,
> Bedford Park, SA, 5042,
> Ph: (08) 8201 2054 Fax: (08) 8201 2784

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