Re: indirect labor, the real wage, and the production of surplus value

From: ajit sinha (sinha_a99@YAHOO.COM)
Date: Wed Nov 12 2003 - 00:23:49 EST

--- "michael a. lebowitz" <mlebowit@SFU.CA> wrote:
> of course, as Ajit emphasizes, real wages are
> ultimately determined by
> class struggle (and thus are not determined in any
> given relation to
> productivity); however, if the balance of class
> forces is 'given in a given
> country in a given point of time' (rather than the
> real wage being that
> given), what happens with productivity increases?

I think you are making a theoretical mistake here from
Marx's point of view. In Marx's theory real wages are
taken as given at any point of time, as the real wages
are supposed to be determined in a long term
socio-historical context (and not just class
struggle). Given this real wages, the methods of
production, and the length of the working day, Marx
derives from these data the rate of surplus value or
the rate of exploitation s/v. Now, by calling s/v the
relative strength of the two classes and keeping it
constant to determine the real wage in turn is simply
theoretically illegitimate. You cannot get s/v unless
you take w as given. Therefore, you cannot take s/v as
given to derive w. Cheers, ajit sinha
> we do entertain Marx's
> 3rd possibility that real wages rise at the same
> rate as productivity gains
> (as would occur, ceteris paribus, in a commodity
> money economy with a
> constant money wage-- as Rakesh indicates), what
> happens to the theory of
> relative surplus value?
>          An argument I make in my new chapter,
> 'Wages' is that the results
> are quite different in two cases: (a) increases in
> social productivity drop
> from the sky and (b) increases in social
> productivity are the result of
> increases in the technical composition of capital.
> If this is so, then the
> condition for the creation of relative surplus value
> has been
> insufficiently specified.
>          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

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