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

From: ajit sinha (sinha_a99@YAHOO.COM)
Date: Sat Nov 22 2003 - 01:13:08 EST

> >  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.
> The key is-- 'everything else being constant'. I
> don't think that is true
> if productivity increases as the result of the
> substitution of means of
> production for direct living labour. In that case,
> all other things equal,
> unemployment increases and the degree of separation
> among workers
> increases. (The condition for a constant real wage,
> then, is that the
> degree of separation rises at the same rate as
> productivity.) However, if
> productivity increases drop from the sky....

Not necessarily. increase in the rate of accumulation
of capital due to increase in productivity may absorb
the redundant labor or may even increase the total
employment. But Marx also brings the natural rate of
growth of population here and argues that the net
effect would be a rise in relative unemployment. This
does not mean that the real wages must immediately
drop. But a persistence of this force in the long run
would bring the real wages down. So there is no need
to assume that real wages would be fixed for ever. But
for a short term analysis, it may be a good practical
> >  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.
> The real parallel is that both propositions are
> based on the core
> pre-analytical vision: the neoclassical proposition
> presuming that everyone
> gets what they deserve, and the Marxian-- that
> everything revolves around
> class struggle.
> >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.
> Marx did not in Capital draw a link between
> productivity and real wages
> because he assumed the latter constant in his
> discussion of relative
> surplus value. What I've been posing is that the
> result of this assumption
> is that the premise for the emergence of relative
> surplus value in practice
> is hidden.
>          in solidarity,
>           michael

I don't understand what you mean by your last
proposition. But I doubt we can get anywhere unless
you specify your theory of wages. Do you think that
real wages are determined by the degree of separation
between the working class or you think that it is a
function of labor productivity or something else? This
is the most crucial point in making sense of your
problem. 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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