[OPE-L:577] Re: International value.

glevy@acnet.pratt.edu (glevy@acnet.pratt.edu)
Mon, 27 Nov 1995 19:31:17 -0800

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John E. and I discussed the following topics with Steve in early August
(curiously, on the same day that the idea for OPE-L is born). Some brief

> One thing I have been struck by in reading Marx is that,
> whenever he makes a comparison of the value of labor-power
> to the real wage, he uses the phrase "wage minimum", or
> something similar. Thus he saw the value of labor power
> as defining not the average wage, but the minimum wage,
> and it is my belief that the "mechanics" of the relation
> between the actual wage and the value of labor-power would
> have been the substance of the proposed book on Wage Labor.

(1) Marx very explicitly rejected Lassalle's "Iron Law of Wages."

(2) Regarding Marx's views on the relation of the value of labor-power to
wages, I refer Steve to the "Results of the Immediate Process of
Production" which appears as an "Appendix" in the Penguin edition of
Volume 1 (pages 1066-1075 are particularly interesting in this regard).

(3) There is *clearly* much work that needs to be done regarding the
further development of a theory of wages at more concrete levels of
abstraction (not only in reference to a book on "Wage-Labour" as Mike L.
has attempted, but also in relation to international trade, the state,
the world market and crisis, etc.).

> "accumulation slackens in consequence of the rise in the price
> of labor, because the stimulus of gain is blunted. The rate of
> accumulation lessens; but with its lessening, the primary cause
> of that lessening vanishes, i.e. the disproportion between
> capital and exploitable labor power. The mechanism of the
> process of capitalist production removes the very obstacles
> that it temporarily creates. The price of labor falls again to
> a level corresponding with the needs of the self-expansion of
> capital, whether the level be below, the same as, or above the
> one which was normal before the rise in wages took place... To
> put it mathematically, the rate of accumulation is the
> independent, not the dependent variable; the rate of wages the
> dependent, not the independent variable."

As John pointed out earlier, the above quotation comes from Section 1 of
Ch. 25 sub-titled: "a growing demand for labour-power accompanies
accumulation if the composition of capital remains the same" (Penguin,
p. 762).

In OPE-L Solidarity,