[OPE-L:2519] Re: Marx and Ricardo

akliman@acl.nyit.edu (akliman@acl.nyit.edu)
Thu, 13 Jun 1996 16:57:48 -0700 (PDT)

[ show plain text ]

Behind, again--and still. I need to give Jerry a proper response on Marx's
Method in _Capital_ (would be a good name for a book :-) ), but one quick
point on the zero-wage issue (see Jerry's ope-l 2507):

No, if workers were to live on air, this would not sever the connection
between labor and money. It would sever the connection between labor-power
and money. Besides, that wages cannot actually be zero is not a matter
of dispute between us.

On the other hand, that workers receive wages is simply a phenomenal form
of the value of labor-power, which presupposes that labor-power has become
a commodity. LOts of workers do not receive "wages," but do labor for
capital. Take the workers in Stalin's slave labor camps, or the kids whose
*parents* get the wages (Marx himself notes that even the formal appearance
of the labor contract as the metting of free individuals is absent here, as
is the reality absent when we examine the reproduction of the capital/labor
relation). Or the small proprietor who exploits him/herself and is,
therefore, as Marx notes, his (her) own wage laborer. All of these people
are proletarians, functionally speaking. And whether they are fed at the
machine or through the mediation of money changes nothing important in the
capital/labor relation, as can be seen by the coexistence of these forms
together with "free" wage labor.

Andrew Kliman