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

From: ajit sinha (sinha_a99@YAHOO.COM)
Date: Fri Nov 28 2003 - 01:14:07 EST

--- "michael a. lebowitz" <mlebowit@SFU.CA> wrote:
> At 23:24 26/11/2003 -0800, ajit wrote:
> >  For you, real
> >wages are a direct function of productivity (q). My
> >point has been that for Marx the real wages are not
> a
> >function of productivity.
> Why? Why--- given that productivity increases lower
> the value of wage goods?

Good! so at least now you accept that, at least for
you, there is a direct relation between labor
productivity and real wages, because earlier you were
denying making any such linkages. That's why I had to
belabor on this point. The answer to your why question
is that the fall in the value of wage goods due to
productivity increases may have nothing to do with
real wages. All you are saying is an assertion that
increase in labor productivity must lead to rise in
real wages as fall in the value of the given real
wages is simply implied by the increase in labor
productivity. So you are still missing the causal
explanation, which is what I'm asking for from day
> >So the problem you are
> >posing to Marx is not Marx's problem. To say that
> >given U = Bq/X, U will be constant only if q/X must
> >remain constant, given B being constant, is
> elementary
> >mathematics. What insight one can get from such
> >elementary mathematics?
> The importance of X to any discussion of U?

X may be important for determining U, but first of
all, this is not there in Marx so it cannot be
incerted in Marx's theory; and secondly, you have
simply asserted it. You have not provided any
theoretical argument as to how and why X must be a
factor in determining U. I personally think that X is
a factor in determining U, but we have not yet
developed a non-neoclassical or some sort of marxist
theory about it.
> >So, to repeat, the problem
> >with what you are saying is that for your theory a
> >rise in labor productivity, leaving other variables
> >constant, must lead to a rise in real wages. This
> is
> >not in Marx.
> Have you read what I wrote on 23/11 in response to
> Jerry? Here it is again:
> >'Finally the third CASE', where productivity (q)
> and the standard of
> >necessity (U) rise at the same rate:
> >
> >The worker continues to receive the same value---
> or the objectification
> >of the same part of the working day--- as before.
> In this case, because
> >the productivity of labour has risen, the quantity
> of use values he
> >receives, his real wage, has risen, but its value
> has remained constant,
> >since it continues to represent the same quantity
> of realised labour time
> >as before. In this case, however, the surplus value
> too remains unchanged,
> >there is no change in the ratio between the wage
> and the surplus value,
> >hence the proportion [of surplus value] to the wage
> remains unchanged
> >(Marx, 1994:65-6).
> >In short, in this case, 'there would be no CHANGE
> in surplus value,
> >although the latter would represent, just as wages
> would, a greater
> >quantity of use values than before' (Marx, 1994:
> 66).
> >In Capital, this third case in which both
> capitalist and worker may obtain
> >more use-values without any change in surplus value
> is introduced as follows:
> >
> >Now, if the productivity of labour were to be
> doubled without any
> >alteration in the ratio between necessary labour
> and surplus labour, there
> >would be no change in the magnitude either of the
> surplus-value or of the
> >price of labour-power. The only result would be
> that each of these would
> >represent twice as many use-values as before, and
> that each use-value
> >would be twice as cheap as it was before (Marx,
> 1977: 659).

I don't understant what you are trying to prove by
this. All Marx is saying is that IF the productivity
doubles and the rate of surplus value remains constant
than workers must receive twice as many goods and
services as before. This is simple algebra of his
equation. What he is not saying is that an increase in
productivity WILL through some causal mechanism lead
to workers receiving more goods and services. So those
quotations are not a support for your thesis. Cheers,
ajit sinha
>          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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