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

From: Rakesh Bhandari (rakeshb@STANFORD.EDU)
Date: Mon Nov 10 2003 - 20:02:56 EST

>Hi Rakesh.
>>  Since wage
>>  contracts are in money terms and productivity is presumably rising
>>  faster on the commodity side than the money side of the exchange
>>  equation, a constant money wage will result in a higher real wage.
>>  Again the assumption here is a commodity theory of money. What
>>  happens with fiat money is not clear.
>Even with commodity money, a constant money wage could result
>in a _lower_ real wage.  This was typically the case during inflationary
>periods. This is why many late 19th Century and early 20th Century
>German Social Democrats thought that inflation, like gambling, was
>a way of redistributing wealth among the social classes and 'cheating'
>the working class.

the increase in money wage could just lag behind the increase in the
general price level; the real wage would increase as would the rate
of exploitation.
not quite sure what you are getting at.
capitalism has been been marked by long bouts in which there has been
a secular increase in the real wage. Are you denying this?
Grossmann's attempt to explain that increase in terms of worker
resistance to the intensification of labor seems quite partial. Much
of the increase in the real wage cannot be accounted for by either
workers' defensive or offensive actions or politically led income
redistribution. Samuelson makes this point somewhere in his textbook,
if I remember correctly.
Which is not to deny that organized collective worker bargaining and
even militance undoubtedly made the increase greater than it would
have otherwise been.

>The case of a constant money wage resulting in a higher real wage
>might happen (with or without commodity money) during a
>deflationary period.  Yet, deflation historically tends to happen
>during the contractionary phase of the cycle when the industrial
>reserve army is growing and the relative bargaining strength of
>labor v. capital is declining.  This, though, would have the effect
>of lowering money _and_ real wages.  So, even during this period
>-- when the average prices of commodities are declining --  the
>  case of a constant money wage with a higher real wage is

it may be unlikely but there was a substantial increase in the the
real wage after the early stages of industrialization. Again it does
not seem that the increase such that it was can be fully accounted
for by terms of workers' organized and cooperative militance.


>In solidarity, Jerry

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