[OPE-L:3534] Re: Hilferding and skill

Steve Keen (s.keen@uws.edu.au)
Sat, 26 Oct 1996 04:03:49 -0700 (PDT)

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I know which way I lean, but I agree that the question is not all that

Allin Cottrell wrote:
> I'll have to go at this by stages. First a comment on the
> question of what Hilferding meant. Having pored over his
> text and Steve's commentary, in my opinion the matter is
> undecidable. The text contains elements that suggest both
> of two incompatible positions. One might pose the question
> as: If Hilferding were presented with Keen's and Cottrell's
> readings, would he (a) immediately recognize Keen's as what
> he intended, (b) immediately recognize Cottrell's as what he
> intended, or (c) say "Hmm. I hadn't thought of it that way;
> let me consider..."? But I'm not sure this question is all
> that interesting, and it's clear we'll never get an answer.
> Allin Cottrell

What is interesting is which approach leads to a better analysis of
skilled labor. One uses the distinction between usevalue and
exchangevalue, and concludes that training can be a source of additional
surplusvalue. The other, at least as Meek and Sweezy view it, concludes
that training does not enhance the ability of a worker to generate
surplusvalue, and hence if it is to make sense of training, must see it
working via a cheapening of the value of simple labor.