[OPE-L:4495] Re: determination of real wages

Ajit Sinh (ecas@cc.newcastle.edu.au)
Sat, 22 Mar 1997 23:15:28 -0800 (PST)

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At 02:55 AM 3/19/97 -0800, Mike Lebowitz wrote:

> Further, all those arguments which say that Marx subsequently changed
>his plan and incorporated the desired material in CAPITAL have to explain
>both (1) why the above discussion that Marx kept talking about did not seem
>to get into CAPITAL and (2) why Marx referred in CAPITAL to "the special
>study of wage labour", which was separate "to this work" (Vol. I, Ch.20,
>Vintage: 683).

Sorry, you gave the reference to # (2), which I did not notice. First of
all, why quote six words and insert something of your own and then quote
three more words? The whole sentence here was quite short itself. So, let me
put it in the context. This quote is taken from the very first short
paragraph of Chapter 20, entitled 'Time Wages". The whole paragraph reads:

"Wages themselves again take many forms. This fact is not apparent from the
ordinary economic treatises, which, in their crude obession with the
material side [Stoff], ignore all differences of form. An exposition of all
these forms belongs to the special study of wage-labour, and not, therefore,
to this work. Nevertheless, we shall have to give a brief discription of the
two fundamental forms here."

So as you can see, he is talking about various forms of wages. Two
*fundamental* ones, i.e. time wage and piece wage, he is going to discuss
there. However, there could be various other forms of wages, like salary
wages, contract wages, etc. But these aspects of detail do not belong to
this *work*. A separate work on wage-labour should take all these details
into account. Now, when we look into the two *fundamental* forms of wages
that Marx talks about in *Capital*, we find that trade unions and workes
struggle to raise wages do not figure. Now, to think that this aspect was
going to be discussed in those secondary forms of wages would be too much of
a streatch.

But most importantly, let us look into what Marx could have meant by the
"special study of wage-labour" which does not belong to "this work". Nowhere
there is a hint that the "special study" was a study which Marx had planned
to conduct himself. We all refer to such special studies in our own works
without ever planning to do such special work ourselves. The key word here
seem to be "this work". Mike would like us to read the word "work" as
reference to volume one of *Capital*, and the "special study" to a future
volume which was the part of the whole project. Now, in *Capital* volume
one, we periodically come across Marx making reference to future volumes
where certain things would be discussed in detail. Let us look at the
wordings in those occations:

"As we will see in more detail in the fourth volume [apparent reference to
TSV] of this work..." (p. 468, f.n. 19)

"Volume 4 of this work, which deals with the history of the theory, we shall
show that ..." (p. 644)

"More about this in Book II, Chapter III, ..." (p. 1045)

If he intended to do this work himself, he wouldn't classify it as not
belonging to the work. Specially, if he thought that it would contain the
other half of his thesis. Not even a footnote to elaborate on this point?
Certainly he didn't intend to do this superfecial secondary aspects of
various forms of wages. And certainly there is no way one could think that
that's where all the good stuff is hiding. Thus, we can conclude that a
close examination of Mike Lebowitz's prize evidence in support of his thesis
reveals that it simply does not hold water. And that is why I had no reason
to change my opinion since the pen-l debate. Cheers, ajit sinha