[OPE-L:635] Re: value-creating power

Iwao Kitamura (ikita@st.rim.or.jp)
Sun, 3 Dec 1995 06:47:09 -0800

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Paul C. [594] replied to my [579].
>I disagree. Training is part of the socially necessary time of

I see explicitly the disagreement point between Paul and I.
Paul thinks training is intermediate input for the production
where the trained labor is employed. I don't agree with this.
I think training is production of skilled labor.

Paul C.:
>If I start a software project to write a database system using
>Microsoft windows, and hire a some graduates who are trained in
>Unix, I have to allow for them to spend several months familiarising
>themselves with Windows before they can write any useful code.
>The time they spend reading the manuals and practicing with the
>system is a necessary part of the total time spent on the product.
>I can of course hire someone who already knows Windows, and get
>the project completed faster, and thus a Windows expert will command
>a higher salary, but this is because their time of work experience
>has already been spent on some other project. The time of work
>experience/training is still a necessary input to the product.
>It is quite different from consumer goods like holidays on the
>Mediterranean, which, however enjoyable, are not necessary to

Necessary for the product, a database system in this case, is not
the training but the labor by the trained worker. I don't see any
reason to reject this view in the case above. Training on windoze
coding by unix experts in this case is 'necessary'. But all they
do is adding windoze coding skill to their own labor power. Thus
their training becomes _indirectly_ necessary for building a database
on windoze.

Paul C.:
>This becomes particularly clear when one considers social production
>as a whole. The particular body of technology used by a society
>presupposes both an allocation of the labour force to produce
>the means of production, and a parallel allocation of part of the
>social working day in familiarisation with the technology.
>Both are equally necessary on purely technical grounds, one does
>not need any special value based argument to back it up.
>Without trained VLSI designers, process engineers etc, it is
>just impossible to set up a factory producing DRAMS. The training
>is just as necessary as furnaces, molecular beam epitaxy machines
>etc. This is a matter of use values - which Marx says is the
>appropriate study of technology rather than political economy.

I have no objection here. Value creating power added by training/education
is of course a matter of use-value. At the same time, I still believe
political economy answers why capitalists employ training/education.

Iwao Kitamura
a member of theoretical study group
Socialist Association (Japan)
E-mail : ikita@st.rim.or.jp
personal web: http://www.st.rim.or.jp/~ikita/