[OPE-L:3232] Re: Marxian Empirical Research: Does Skilled Labor Create Value?

Steve Keen (s.keen@uws.edu.au)
Wed, 2 Oct 1996 14:25:35 -0700 (PDT)

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> >Steve: "I also note that Paul's one literal answer of Paul's answer is that
> >labor adds no value at all! Of course, what he means is that surplus
> >value comes only from simple labor, correct?"

> Paul: Please clarify your question.

Sure. The Sweezy/Meek interpretation of skilled labor argues that
skilled labor produces more output per unit of time because it costs
more to produce. As Meek puts it, Marx:

"was simply saying (a) that the value of the skilled labor power
was higher because it had cost more labor to produce; and (b)
that because it had cost more labor to produce, it was able to
create a product of a higher value... If p hours is his expected
productive life, and t hours of simple labor have been expended
upon him and by him during the training period, then when he
starts work each hour of his labor will count as 1 + t/p hours
of simple labor." (Meek 1973, p. 172)

Now if this is so, the additional value (over that created by the simple
labor upon which skilled labor is built) created by skilled labor is
identical to the value expended in training. Hence the only source of
surplus value, according to this interpretation, is simple labor. Is
that what you intended in your initial answer to Iwao?