[OPE-L:3477] Re: More on skilled labour

Allin Cottrell (cottrell@wfu.edu)
Fri, 18 Oct 1996 11:32:37 -0700 (PDT)

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> >In fact, it presents the case for "my" side, because you show that if
> >training converts a single finger typist into a touch-typist, and this
> >doubles the typing speed, then an additional source of surplus value has
> >been created.


> Extra surplus value, in this case relative surplus value will only have
> been created to the extent that typing enters into the necessary labour
> time of workers in general. If training doubles productivity, and if
> the real wages remains fixed, then surplus value in the economy as a whole
> will rise by one half of the amount of typing labour that was directly
> and indirectly embodied in the real wage.
> In this respect training is equivalent to technical change.

I agree with Paul's response. One other possibility is that
the typing (or part of it) represents part of the 'faux
frais' of capitalist production -- unproductive labour
supported out of surplus value. In that case the increased
productivity cuts down on the capitalists' unproductive
expenditure, so that a greater portion of surplus value
appears as profit.

But in no case can one take the doubling (or almost
doubling, allowing for labour of training) in the typists'
physical productivity as representing a doubling of their
_value_ productivity. That would be a simple conflation of
value and use-value. What happens is that the value of a
given quantity of typescript falls to a little more than
half of what it once was. And so insofar as typing labour
enters directly or indrectly into the production of workers'
means of consumption, the value of labour-power is reduced
and relative surplus value is generated in 'the usual way'.