[OPE-L:4534] Re: determination of real wages

Ajit Sinh (ecas@cc.newcastle.edu.au)
Tue, 25 Mar 1997 23:23:29 -0800 (PST)

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At 12:17 PM 3/25/97 -0800, Mike Lebowitz wrote:

>Ajit, you appear to be concluding that because Marx says here that the
>separate work will discuss the forms of the wages this is the *only* thing
>it will include. This is a logical error. I cited this reference to
>illustrate that Marx was *still* in his last edition of Vol I talking about
>the book on wage-labour that he first mentioned in 1857, which after all is
>a rather long period in which he was consistent. He also was consistent on
>what the book would include:

Mike, you wrote: "Further, all those arguments which says that Marx
subsequently changed his plan and incorporated the desired material in
CAPITAL have to explain ... (2) why Marx referred in CAPITAL to the 'special
study of wage labour', which was separate 'to this work.'"

When I explained this quotation in the context, which suggested that Marx
here is referring to various FORMS of wages, apart from the two fundamental
ones. Thus, it is not an evidence that could be used to support your claim
that Marx was going to discuss rises in wages due to trade union struggles.
Moreover, the wordings suggest that Marx is not referring to a work which he
had worked out or was planning to work it out himself. You tell me that I
"make a logical error". Where is the "error"? You suggest that he was going
to talk x, y , z in that book. I say that there is no evidence to suggest
that he was going to talk x, y, z in that book; moreover, there does not
seem to be a planned book to begin with. Then you come up with the argument
that even though "here" he says that that book may contain a, b, c, it is
improper or rather erroneous for me to conclude that that book won't contain
x, y, z. But I don't have to conclude what would or what wouldn't be there
in a non-existent book. The onus is on you Mike to present evidence to
support that he was going to write a book and he was going to discuss such
and such thesis in that book. It is you who is trying to bring to life a non
existent book. However, all the evidence you have provided before us don't
seem to hold water.
>--in the Grundrisse, he notes that the "chapter treating of wage labour"
>will consider how the standard of necessary labour changes and that he is
>treating it as fixed initially to avoid confounding everything.

No page reference given. In any case, I have consistently argued that Marx
held that secular trend of real wages were downward. So, of course, in
historical context the standard of necessary labor will change. Your point
has been that the trend would be upward because of trade union movement.
Where is the evidence for that? Moreover, no evidence from Grundrisse can be
admitted since Grundrisse has six book plan, and a lot of water had flown
through Ganges since then and CAPITAL.
>--in his letter to Engels in 4/58 about the 6 books, he notes that the
>assumption that wages`are at their minimum will be removed and that
>movements in wages and the rise or fall of that minimum will be considered
>under wage labour.

But look at the scheme of CAPITAL in the letter. It does not go beyond the
first part of volume one. As a matter of fact, Grundrisse culminated into A
CONTRIBUTION TO THE CRITIQUE and CAPITAL vol.1 part one is basically a
synthesis of the CONTRIBUTION. In all these works, wage-labor does not
appear. Its introduction and production of surplus causes serious changes in
the theoretical outlook. I have, in my paper in RIPE vol. 15, argued that
something very important snaps after first part of CAPITAL vol.1. So there
is no reason to take any of these 1850's claims seriously.
>-- in the 1861-63 mss (which I cited earlier), he indicates that movements
>in the level of workers needs and the rise and fall of wages does not belong
>in the discussion of capital but in the investigation of wage labour in
>-- in the 1864-5 notes (Results of the Immediate Process of Production), he
>states: "The level of the necessaries of life whose total value constitutes
>the value of labour-power can itself rise or fall. The analysis of these
>variations, however, belongs not here but in the theory of wages."
>-- finally, as noted, there is Capital itself, which demonstrates (1) Marx
>did not incorporate the above issues into Capital and (2) was still talking
>about the separate work on wage labour.

Didn't I give my readings of these quotations earlier Mike? Why not refute
my readings first.

Sorry to hear about the plumbing problem. So, it's not your Island? Well,
that's the rumor all over Canada! Cheers, ajit sinha