Re: (OPE-L) indirect labor, the real wage, and the production of surplus value

From: ajit sinha (sinha_a99@YAHOO.COM)
Date: Mon Nov 10 2003 - 05:25:57 EST

Michael L. wrote:
> Paul accurately describes Marx's assumption in
> CAPITAL and what Marx was
> able to do by making this assumption. A separate
> question (which I explore
> in a new chapter, 'Wages', in the revised edition of
> my 'Beyond CAPITAL')
> is how plausible is this assumption, what are the
> conditions necessary for
> it to hold, and what the implications of treating
> the standard of necessity
> variable. In his Economic Manuscript of 1861-63,
> Marx (MECW, Vol. 34: 65-6)
> clearly identified 3 options when productivity
> increases. One of these is
> where real wages and productivity rise at the same
> rate in which case there
> is no development of relative surplus value. The
> question I asked, then, is
> why should we assume the case of constant real wage

It is because of Marx's theory of wages. For Marx, as
well as many classical economists, real wages are
determined by socio-historical forces, which includes
historical class struggles. Thus the theory takes the
real wages as given for any point in time. Its, i.e.
real wages, long term movements are influenced by
various factors such as rate of accumulation, rate of
growth of population, changes in technology, etc.
However, there is no one to one functional
relationship between labor productivity and real
wages. One may think that increase in labor
productivity may increase labor militency and increase
the real wages but at the same time increase in labor
productivity may be associated with increase in
unemployment that may reduce labor militency. Thus the
impact of labor productivity on real wages may be
highly complex and unpredictable; it can only be
understood within a historical discription. It is the
neo-classical theory that draws one to one functional
relationship with labor productivity and wages with
their concepts of marginal productivity and supply

I don't know how all of a sudden I have started to
receive ope-l mails! Cheers, ajit sinha
> (and thus relative
> surplus value) or the case of real wages rising but
> less than productivity
> (in which case there is both rising real wage and
> relative surplus value---
> a possibility entertained in CAPITAL)--- rather than
> this 3rd case in which
> workers are the beneficiaries of productivity gain?
> What prevents workers
> from obtaining the gains from the rise in social
> productivity? My answer is
> in the book, but I'll be interested in what others
> think.
>          in solidarity,
>           michael
> ---------------------
> Michael A. Lebowitz
> Professor Emeritus
> Economics Department
> Simon Fraser University
> Burnaby, B.C., Canada V5A 1S6
> Office Fax:   (604) 291-5944
> Home:   Phone (604) 689-9510

Do you Yahoo!?
Protect your identity with Yahoo! Mail AddressGuard

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Tue Nov 11 2003 - 00:00:00 EST