[OPEL:6183] L] Re: Unproductive labor

Gerald Levy (glevy@pratt.edu)
Thu, 12 Feb 1998 10:20:22 -0500 (EST)

Rakesh wrote yesterday:

> 1. I think if we look at capital as a whole and worry less about such
> ratios as unproductive to productive labor within national boundaries or
> only the labor directly employed by US companies abroad, we will find that
> in the "foreign" units to which multinationals outsource or from whom
> commercial enterprises buy do employ more productive labor in relation to
> unproductive labor.

Perhaps that is because since many of those commodities are exported for
sale in advanced capitalist nations, sales personnel are concentrated
more where the commodities are sold.

> 2. When more US labor was used in the production of consumer or mass
> produced goods, it seems to me that that wage norms regulated the distance
> between, say, an auto worker and an aircraft machinist.

(aside: last time I checked, the wages in the US for unionized autoworkers
and aircraft machinists were very similar).

> There seems to be
> no such regulation for the wages of commercial workers. In this case, I
> think their wages are so low that if even if their gross employment is
> growing and thus the ratio of unproductive to productive labor, they can't
> possibly be responsible for much deduction from surplus value.

The wages for people working behind cash registers, etc. may be relatively
low, but the salaries for sales people is often much higher than the wages
for factory workers. In other words, "commercial workers" are a very
heterogeneous group and there are wide wage disparities among them.

In solidarity, Jerry