[OPE-L:3114] commercial workers -- then & now

Gerald Lev (glevy@pratt.edu)
Tue, 24 Sep 1996 20:16:56 -0700 (PDT)

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I came across the following passage concerning commercial workers in V3.
How well does it stand up today?

"The commercial worker proper belongs to the better-paid class of
wage-labourer; he is one whose labour is skilled labour, above-average
labour. His wage, however, has a tendency to fall, as the capitalist mode
of production advances, even in relation to average labour. Firstly,
because the division of labour within the commercial office means that
only a one-sided development of ability need be produced and that much of
the cost of producing this ability is free for the capitalist, since the
workers' skill is rather developed by the function itself, and indeed is
developed all the more quickly, the more one-sided the function becomes
with the division of labour. Secondly, because basic skills, knowledge of
commerce and languages, etc., are reproduced ever more quickly, easily,
generally and cheaply, the more the capitalist mode of production adapts
teaching methods, etc. to practical purposes. The general extension of
popular education permits this variety of labour to be recruited from
classes which were formerly excluded from it and were accustomed to a
lower standard of living. This also increases supply, and with it
competition. With a few exceptions, therefore, the labour-power of these
people is devalued with the advance of capitalist production; their wages
fall, whereas their working ability increases" (Penguin ed, pp. 414-415).

Have the wages of commercial workers shown a tendency to fall? If not, why

What about the rest of the passage above?

In OPE-L Solidarity,