[OPE-L:2346] Re: Chapter 5 and Marx's method

Gil Skillman (gskillman@wesleyan.edu)
Thu, 23 May 1996 14:37:32 -0700

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Michael writes:

>BTW (I've been dying to do that ...), the characterisation of labour-power as a
>quasi-commodity facilitates the grasp of a key irresolvable conflict (=
>dialectical contradiction) of capitalism: the endless struggle to commodify
>labour power - in which the working class seems to be suffering terrible
>in the last 15 years of liberalisation of labour markets, and rolling back of
>welfare states.
It strikes me that this supports my interpretation, which is to treat labor
power as a capacity to labor (from which labor is problematically extracted)
rather than as a commodity. If labor power is understood to be a commodity
by definition, there is no basis for such "endless struggle"--indeed, the
phrase has no meaning, just as "endless effort to make celery a vegetable"
would have no meaning. Gil