[OPE-L:712] Re: value-creating power [digression]

Iwao Kitamura (ikita@st.rim.or.jp)
Tue, 12 Dec 1995 07:07:24 -0800

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I'm very sorry that I had skipped Paul's reply[618] to Chaion
when I wrote my last post. But I feel our discussion is going
to turn around the same point.

>Paul C
>The fact that training is indirectly neccessary to making
>something, does not make it any less necessary. If it is
>necessary, then the time spent on it is socially neccessary
>time for the production of the product, and counts as part
>of the value of the product.

I don't deny your argument above. But this is not the problem
that we have been discussing. The problem of 'value-creating power'
is mainly a problem of surplus value.

>Also note, that in practice when people are trained they do not
>only produce their own skills, they also produce a material product
>besides. Outside of educational institutions, people are trained
>by being put to work making things, the longer they do it the
>better they get.

Here, I'm questioning whether we can distinguish 'skill building activity'
from 'pure' activity that produces commodity. I'm not so sure yet.
'On the Job Training' (OJT) is an important part of technological
improvement nowadays. In practice, we see struggle subjects about
this, don't we? Capitalists always seek chances to 'organize' workers
to be conscious on their skill building on work. Why? The reason seems
to me that skilled labor add surplus for capitalists.
Let me digress more. :)
QC(quality control) circles have been a major tactic of japanese
capitalists to destroy working class unification. But it works
also as a tool to let workers be conscious on their skill building.
Nowadays, one of major slogans of capitalists in workplaces appears as
'a multi-skilled worker or unemployed'. This aims more surplus value
through more physiological expenditure of human power of workers.

>>At the same time, I still believe
>>political economy answers why capitalists employ training/education.
>If they did not provide training, or have it provided by the state
>they could not produce. Need one say anything more at this level?

Yes. It's no matter for capitalists that they can't let workers to
produce anything unless they can get any surplus value. We are not
living in socialist society.

>There are of course questions about how training enters into the
>formation of classes and stratifications within classes, which
>are interesting and important.

in ope-l solidarity,
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/