[OPE-L:1839] Re: A Review of Lapides' Marx's Wage theory

Subject: [OPE-L:1839] Re: A Review of Lapides' Marx's Wage theory
From: Paul Zarembka (zarembka@ACSU.BUFFALO.EDU)
Date: Sun Dec 05 1999 - 08:48:04 EST


I now have time to turn to wage theory and note a criticism in 1112 you
posted of Kenneth Lapides' book "Marx's Wage Theory in Historical
Perspective" (see below). Lapides replied to you in 1303:

"It really seems as though Sinha only glanced through my book, because if
he had actually read it he would know that I show that there is no such
thing as 'Marx's immiseration thesis,' that it only exists in the minds of
writers like himself. Thus I cannot 'misunderstand the logic' of
something that I demonstrate does not exist (or exists only as an
imaginary entity). What I do show is that many followers and critics of
Marx have mistakenly 'identified' his economic doctrine with Lassalle's
'iron law of wages,'..."

What I would like to know is 1) where you find an "immiseration" thesis in
Marx and 2) how do you respond to Lapides' denial that he had joined an
Iron Law of Wages to immiseration (i.e., where do you find him in his book
joining an Iron Law with immiseration)? Note Lapides': "The
misrepresentation of Marx's wage theory that is the most far-reaching in
its implications and widespread in its dissemination is the allegation
that it rests on a thesis of 'increasing misery' of the working class" (p.

Thanks, as I think these issues are important, Paul

Paul Zarembka, supporting RESEARCH IN POLITICAL ECONOMY, web site
******************** http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/PZarembka

On 09/05/99 at 01:41 PM, Ajit Sinha <ajitsinha@lbsnaa.ernet.in> said:

>The fundamental problem with Lapides s position stems from his complete
>misunderstanding of the logic of Marx s immiseration thesis. He
>identifies Marx s increasing immiseration thesis with Iron Law of Wages
>, which is simply absurd. An increasing immiseration thesis must assume
>that real wages for most of the historical period under consideration
>must be considerably above the minimum subsistence , otherwise how could
>one talk about a secular tendency for the real wages to decline? The
>Iron Law of Wages , on the other hand, maintains that real wages cannot
>be higher than the minimum subsistence for any considerable period of
>time. Thus the two theses mutually exclude each other, and their
>identification on Lapides s part is evidence to his poor understanding of
>this issue.

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