[OPE-L:2680] Re: : More on abstract labour

mktitoh@e.u-tokyo.ac.jp (mktitoh@e.u-tokyo.ac.jp<"mktitoh@e.u-tokyo.ac.jp")
Fri, 19 Jul 1996 03:56:48 -0700 (PDT)

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Dear Paul Cockshott;

Thank your for your comments to my letter on 17 July, as follows:

'I agree with this. It is why I prefer the method of counting trained
labour in terms of basic labour plus an allowance for time acquiring

We have to be careful to distinguish between trained labour as a cost
to society - it requires time allocated to training - and the rewards
for trained labour - which should in principle be no different from those
of any other type of work. Since in a capitalist economy there is no
explicit labour time calculus, labour is represented by the wage, thus
the issues of its social cost and the rewards to individuals become

Upon our agreement that the expenditure of complex labour-power must
basically be counted equally jut as that of simple labour-power, you
presented the issue of reproduction costs of complex labour-power. In
capitalism the former is the substantial effect of use-value of complex
labour-power in creating the substance of value, and the latter forms the
problem of value of complex labour-power. Let me supplement and extend the
latter point, by exemplifying two distinct cases.

In a pure free market capitalism, the social costs which are necessary
to reproduce socially necessary types of complex labour-power must be
guaranteed to individuals or individual family to enable generational
reproduction of skill or specially educated ability, as you point out. As
a result, ironically in a free market system, families with higher income
tends to seem a privileged class which can reproduce complex labour-power
with special costs of training and education. In case of Japan, there are
only exceptional few children to be medical doctors out of the same
professional families. The costs of education thus work to maintain almost
consolidated hereditary gradings of families (like in a feudalist society).

If the costs of training and education of complex labour-power are
entirely public and supplied sufficiently in the second model, then the
social costs of making up special ability need not be paid as allowance
added to wages as reward. Public education would serve to increase social
mobility and promote egalitarian economic order. If some type of desirable
socialist society is realized, such an order of reproduction of
labour-power would be fully conceivable. In that sense, the social costs of
special training can theoretically be socialized, being separate from
reward to individual contribution by labour expenditure.

In actual capitalist economies, these two aspects are already combined in
different weights, though individualism gains in the recent neo-liberalist
policy trends. Aren't they?

All the best,