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

From: ajit sinha (sinha_a99@YAHOO.COM)
Date: Fri Nov 21 2003 - 00:54:22 EST

Mike L. Wrote:
> No, you have misunderstood me. I am not using
> relative strength (or, as in
> the book, the degree of separation of workers) to
> determine first real
> wages and then the rate of surplus value. That would
> indeed be
> questionable. Rather, I asked what happens to the
> former if the latter is
> given as the result of a given balance of class
> forces (degree of
> separation of workers) and productivity rises. But
> the same point can be
> approached in many ways: if we treat real wages as
> variable, what happens
> to real wages in a commodity money economy if
> productivity in the
> production of wage goods increases? What if that
> productivity increase
> drops from the sky (i.e., we are not considering the
> effect of an increase
> in the technical composition of capital)?
>          in solidarity,
>           michael

Good! Now the issue is becoming clearer to me. I don't
see a great problem in posing the question this way.
However, there is some problem, as I see it. At this
time you do not seem to have a theory of wages. You
seem to be dealing with three variables, namely real
wages, degree of separation of the working class, and
the labor productivity. It is not clear in what kind
of relationship these three variables stand with each
other. Apparently, your argument is that given the
degree of separation fixed, there must be a straight
line inverse relation between the changes in
productivity and the real wage. This will be true in
the world of three variables, with the rest of the
world frozen. But this is nothing but simply another
way of putting the proposition that given every thing
else being constant, the real wage is a direct
function of labor productivity. But this is not much
different from the neoclassical proposition which says
that with everything remaining constant, the real wage
is a function of labor productivity. Your proposition
is a bit more stronger than the neoclassical one,
since the neoclassical one does not draw a
proportionate relationship of real wages with labor
productivity. This is not to say that this proposition
is meaningless or wrong. Empirically it appears that
the neoclassical proposition does better on this score
than Marx's one. My point was that Marx did not think
this way since he explicitly refused to draw a
relationship between labor productivity and real
wages. My sense is that your proposition will continue
to appear to hang in the air till you develop a theory
of real wage determination.
> ps. nice to have you back on OPE-L, Ajit. Hope all
> goes well with you.
> ---------------------
Thanks! I appreciate this. Cheers, ajit sinha
> 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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