[OPE-L:3407] RE: slave labour conditions

riccardo bellofiore (bellofio@cisi.unito.it)
Mon, 14 Oct 1996 10:13:34 -0700 (PDT)

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At 6:03 14-10-1996, andrew kliman wrote:
>In ope-l 3397, Massimo wrote:
>"To set v = 0 and ASSUME people live on air, is to reinforce the case that
>shows that the internal dynamics of a social system based on profit (endless
>drive to accumulation) is independent of wage and has to do with labour at the
>point of production."
>Good point!
>Andrew Kliman

May I disagree? The important point for Marx is that - differently than in
feudalism - in capitalism what is fairly known in advance is not the
surplus but what is going to the workers. Since the real wage in a given
area in a given time may be assumed to be given, surplus labour varies with
the length of the working day (if methods of production are given) or with
the necessary labour (if the length of the working day is given). Hence, it
is a function of the valorization process. This was in fact a point raised
by Alan Freeman a few post ago: he raised it (wrongly, in my eyes) as a
critique against the simultaneous solution. It has the proper place in the
analysis of the *origin* of the surplus value.

I don't think it was immaterial to Marx the fact that wage workers were
"free" for the endless drive to accumulation, which is rather strengthened
by the consideration of an increase in the real wage (and even reduction of
the length of the working day) more than matched by an increase in the
productive power of labour which leads to a decrease of v. It is THIS which
stresses the role of labour at the point of production.


Riccardo Bellofiore e-mail: bellofio@cisi.unito.it
Department of Economics Tel: (39) 35 277505 (direct)
University of Bergamo (39) 35 277501 (dept.)
Piazza Rosate, 2 (39) 11 5819619 (home)
I-24129 Bergamo Fax: (39) 35 249975