[OPE-L:3530] Re: Productive and Unproductive Labour

andrew kliman (Andrew_Kliman@msn.com)
Fri, 25 Oct 1996 16:48:24 -0700 (PDT)

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A reply to Jerry's ope-l 3521.

I do not remember the passage Jerry referred to. Reading it now, I find it to
be definitive (unless there are passages that contradict it, which I very much
doubt): Marx held that the wages of superintendence do *not* enter into the
value of commodities. The consequences of this are that they are not recouped
through sale, and they thus reduce the surplus-value useable for other
purposes. My earlier arguments to the contrary were incorrect.

I still maintain that capitalist production would be impossible without these
and other repression costs (R), and that Marx held this as well (see Ch. 13,
vol. I). If one wishes to deny the legitimacy of the v = 0 assumption on the
ground that it is illegitimate to assume something that is incompatible with
the existence of the subject-matter, then consistency requires that one also
deny the legitimacy of the R = 0 assumption.

And I still maintain that repression costs reduce capitalists' net profit, so
that if they wish to maximize their net profit, they have an incentive to
replace living labor with dead labor in order to lower repression costs. This
incentive operates independently of the wage rate and would be present even
were v = 0, and it is therefore incorrect to claim that rational capitalists
would mechanize were the incentive of wage reductions absent.

Andrew Kliman