[OPE-L:2641] Re: estimation of abstract labor

glevy@pratt.ed (glevy@pratt.edu)
Thu, 11 Jul 1996 06:36:35 -0700 (PDT)

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Paul C wrote in [OPE-L:2639]:

> This is only because it has been written about in a very abstract
> way. There is no reason why we should privilige differences in
> organic composition as being more abstract/general than differences in
> wage rates.

Whether there *are* prices of production (and a general rate of profit)
and whether disparities between value and prices of production are more
or less significant than disparities brought about by wage differentials
is an empirical question. I *think* we agree on that. *Where* we situate
the topics of the formation of a general rate of profit vs. wage
differentials is a theoretical question related to the method that we use
in developing categories related to a systematic understanding of
capitalism. I suspect we agree on that point as well (although, we differ
on the method and form of investigation and presentation).

> I am not familiar with SSA.

For a comprehensive presentation of the SSA perspective, see:

* David M. Kotz, Terrence McDonough, and Michael Reich ed. _Social
structures of accumulation: the political economy of growth and
crisis_, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1994.

A more popular presentation from this perspective is:

* Samuel Bowles, David M. Gordon, and Thomas E. Weisskopf _Beyond the
Wasteland: A democratic alternative to economic decline_, NY, Anchor
Press/Doubleday, 1984.

A very readable college text written from the SSA perspective is:

* Samuel Bowles and Richard Edwards _Understanding Capitalism:
Competition, Command, and Change in the U.S. Economy_, 2nd ed., NY,
HarperCollins, 1993.

There is a *very large* literature on labor market segmentation. A short
summary of this topic from a SSA perspective is given in the Bowles &
Edwards text, pp. 244-252. More detailed explanations and case studies
are given in:

* Richard C. Edwards, Michael Reich, David M. Gordon ed. _Labor Market
Segmentation_, Lexington, Mass., D.C. Heath & Company, 1975


* David M. Gordon, Richard Edwards, Michael Reich _Segmented work, divided
workers: The historical transformation of labor in the United States_,
Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1982.

> >Fourth: regarding the productive-unproductive labor distinction, how is
> >your empirical methodology different from that employed by [our own] Anu
> >Shaikh and Ahmet Tonak?
> I think it is similar but I have not yet read their book.

What is going on here? No wonder people feel that their works are ignored
-- we haven't read them! Yesterday, Mike W admitted that he hadn't read
Tony's _The Logic of Marx's Capital_ book. Early on in OPE-L history we
had an exchange between Tony and Mike L in which each admitted that they
hadn't read each other's book. There are many other instances of this in
the OPE-L archives as well. Folks: we have to do better! Let's at least
agree as a matter of scholarship and OPE-L comradeship to make an earnest
effort to read each other's works.

This may be my last post for the next two weeks. I look forward to
rejoining the discussion then. I know it's summer, but I would like to see
some more participation from others on the list.

In OPE-L Solidarity,