[OPE-L:4754] Re: real wages and the rate of surplus value

Ajit Sinh (ecas@cc.newcastle.edu.au)
Mon, 14 Apr 1997 02:19:12 -0700 (PDT)

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At 05:45 PM 4/11/97 -0700, Jerry Levy wrote:
>Ajit wrote in [OPE-L:4726]:
>> Suppose technology is unchanging, and the rate of growth of population is
>> constant. Now, let us suppose that the rate of accumulation rises.
>> Unemployment falls and real wages rise. The rise in real wages would lower
>> the rate of profit, and thus the rate of accumulation. So the rate of
>> growth of the demand for labor would decline. Unemployment would rise,
>> and the real wages would fall.
>That sounds like the "story" told in VI, Ch. 25, Part One. Yet the story
>that we observe in Part One ("a growing demand for labour-power
>accompanies accumulation if the composition of capital remains the same")
>is modified when the composition of capital increases (e.g. in Part
>Three where there is "the progressive production of a relative surplus
>population or industrial reserve army").

It is hard to debate issues with Jerry, because he goes round and round in
circle. You presented a senario with no technical change, to which I
presented an argument which refuted your senario. Now, you say this won't be
the case if technology is changing. Good! that's the point I'm making all
along. Now, given your new senario of "the progressive production of a
relative surplus population or industrial reserve army", how would you argue
that the real wages would still rise. Now, you can see that you have
accepted the point which I have been repeatedly making that Marx held the
position that there would be "progressive production of a relative surplus
population or industrial army", a point which you have been trying to
refute. So what is going on here?

>> Thus, in a dynamic case, the balanced path would ensure
>> that real wages would remain constant and the rate of accumulation
>> would be equal to the rate of growth of population.
>Except as a formal possibility, I don't think it is appropriate to
>picture the accumulation process in terms of a "balanced path." Indeed,
>there is very little about capitalism which could be described as

Given the assumption within which my argument is made, what reasons can you
provide which would suggest that the dynamic path would not be balanced? You
got to stick to what you are debating. Otherwise it is too frustrating.
>> The constant real wages I'm talking about are the gravitational points
>> around which the real wages during the business cycle fluctuates.
>What is the "gravitational force" that would maintain constant real
>wages? I agree that changes in the size of the industrial reserve army
>and changes in the demand for labour-power that accompany changes in the
>rate of accumulation are *part* of the process that helps to explain
>fluctuations in real wages. Yet it is _only_ part of the picture and
>there are many other variables that can cause real wages to change.

Like what? Cheers, ajit sinha
>In solidarity, Jerry