Re: [OPE-L] accumulation of capital and the working class

From: GERALD LEVY (gerald_a_levy@MSN.COM)
Date: Tue Jan 08 2008 - 22:41:55 EST

Hi Paul Z:
No, not a full stop.  I had hoped that you would figure out
what I was trying to get at, but since you haven't, I'll
tell you: I  was thinking of a (relatively short-term)  
reduction of wages below their value.
If there is a reduction of wages below their value then 
there is the possibility that a decreased amount of V 
could be able to be used for wage payments to the 
same quantity of wage workers (or even more, if the
reduction of wages below their value was sharp enough).
So, if V went down, let's say by a small amount, and C
went up by a small amount (and the total of C+V goes up)
then this could be associated with a quantity of employed
wage-workers which could stay the same or perhaps even 
go up marginally. Thus, less V could mean more wage-workers
(even assuming the length of the working day et al 
remains constant).
This possibility (which Marx says is "one of the most
important factors in stemming the tendency for the rate of
profit to fall") would not be recognized if the focus on 
accumulation was only as a long-run historical process. 
The very real possibility that commodities (including labour-
power) can be sold at a price below their value is
recognized if one looks at more discrete time periods.
The other reason for this possibility is that there is not a 
fixed relation between the quantity of V and the quantity 
of wage-workers.
Grasping the long-run trajectory of capital accumulation 
is important, of course. It is also important to grasp
how the accumulation of capital can manifest itself
differently in shorter periods of time as a way of 
comprehending conjunctural developments and the 
impact of that on the working class. It is important 
not to fall into the fallacy of believing that what is true 
when one looks at the long sweep of capitalist history 
is also true for all periods (and places). The possibility of
temporal (and spatial) variations must be kept in mind.
In solidarity, Jerry 

> > One can envision a (real) possibility where the size of V> > goes _down_ even as the size of C increases (and the> > total magnitude of C+V increases) where the size of the> > working class does _not_ go down. Have you considered> > this possibility?

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