[OPE-L:3517] Re: Productive and Unproductive Labour

Gerald Lev (glevy@pratt.edu)
Thu, 24 Oct 1996 05:06:12 -0700 (PDT)

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Paul C wrote in [OPE-L:3515]:

> > (1) commodities sold by independent commodity producers (if this were
> > the case, *why* would we expect, except by assumption, that the
> > sum of the value of commodities sold below their value in this
> > sector would equal the sum of value of commodities sold above
> > their value in the rest of the economy?);
> I dont see a problem here. In what sense are you performing the sum?
> If one views the independent and capitalist sectors trading with one
> another then the loss to one has to be the gain to the other.

There is, of course, some trading between independent commodity producers
and capitalists. However, I think that a much larger percentage of
commodities sold by independent commodity producers are sold to workers.

> How and with respect to what benchmark can the totality of labour power
> sell for less than its value, since its value is defined by the goods
> that, under historical and moral limitations, are currently purchased
> by workers.

Well ... this is one of the "host of other analytical problems" that I see
with the idea that labour-power is systematically sold below its value.
However, suppose that one percentage of labour-power is sold at its value
and another percentage of labour-power is systematically sold below its
value. This, then, would decrease the aggregate value of labour-power. It
would also present a significant analytical problem since, as you say,
there are historical and moral components to the value of labour-power.
This does not mean, though, that the understanding of what constitutes the
value of labour-power, historically and morally understood, can not be
changed such that there is a decrease in the value of that commodity.

In Solidarity,