[OPE-L:4773] Re: the determination of real wages---- and a

Michael A. Lebowit (mlebowit@sfu.ca)
Mon, 14 Apr 1997 15:11:52 -0700 (PDT)

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In message Mon, 14 Apr 1997 07:15:05 -0700 (PDT),
patrick l mason <patrick.l.mason.20@nd.edu> writes:

> At 02:08 PM 4/12/97 -0700, you wrote:
>> reproduced in W.O. Henderson, Engels: Selected Writings.] My position
>> (which I think was Marx's) is that wages are determined by class
>> struggle, which means they can go up or down even with the existence of
>> trade unions (and, of course, are constrained at the top by the
>> requirements for the reproduction of capitalist relations of
>> production).
> Okay, wages are constrained at the top by the reproductive requirements of
> capital. Presumably, the bottom constraint is the reproductive
> requirements of labor, i.e., the lowest positive wage rate consistent
> with the reproduction of the working class (consistent with some given
> level of work intensity).

Note re the upper constraint that the reproductive requirement of capital
includes that wage-labourers be reproduced qua wage-labourers--- i.e., that
wages cannot be so high that they can extract themselves from their
dependence upon capital. That was the "problem" with the colonies--- the
non-reproduction of wage-labourers hence the non-reproduction of capital.

> Call the former W(max) and the latter W(min).
> As a first go, the effects of class struggle on the wage rate are such
> that W(min) <= W <= W(max). From here, we can further discuss the
> concrete limits (sources of pressure) on the wage rate. HMMMMM, where
> have I seen this approach before????

I give up. By the way, would W(max) be rising and a function of the general
level of productivity?
in solidarity,
Michael A. Lebowitz
Economics Department, Simon Fraser University
Burnaby, B.C., Canada V5A 1S6
Office: (604) 291-4669; Office fax: (604) 291-5944
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