(OPE-L) Re: production shifts

From: Gerald_A_Levy@MSN.COM
Date: Sun Nov 07 2004 - 09:33:17 EST

A couple of points re Jurriaan's message:

> The "new international division labor" is already very much an
> accomplished fact. Higher-level services, technological innovation,
> distribution, and corporate management are concentrated in the developed
> countries;
> lower-level services and the production of material goods has shifted
> increasingly to less developed countries. Marxists and semi-Marxists were
> among the first to note this development; see the relevant works by Ernest
> Mandel, Christian Palloix and Folker Frobel et al. But just as important
> is the division of labor within the developed countries itself, in which
> job quality has become increasingly important.

What is, in part,  "new" in the newest  NIDL is a trend for capital
to outsource jobs which require *skilled* labour power. Complementing
this trend is an increasing trend , which goes back as far as the "brain
drain"  of the 1960's,  for capitalists from the US and other advanced
capitalist nations to recruit and import skilled workers from abroad.
These trends are driven not only by international disparities in wages
but also by the increasing quality of technical colleges, etc. in other
nations  (and perhaps a relative decrease in quality of technical
colleges, etc. in the US?).

> However, the ability to realise surplus-values from labour is
> dependent on the defence of the right to own private capital
> assets, and prevent access to them by people who do not own them. If
> workers were not shut out from access to means of production in specific
> ways, then they would not be compelled to sell their ability to work and
> work for a boss, they could just help themselves to resources.  This being
> the case, the owners of private capital have a common interest, a
> universal class interest in safeguarding the ownership and entitlement to
> private assets against theft, robbery and competing claims about ownership
> entitlements.

You noted labor market segmentation elsewhere in your message. Let
me note then that a significant percentage of the working class in the
US has a claim on asset ownership through their pensions and
mutual fund accounts.  The amount of money in the pension funds of  state
employees alone is enormous and has been periodically used by the state
(after securing agreement from the 'leaders' of municipal unions) to bail
out cities in fiscal distress.   This claim by a segment of workers employed
by both capital and the state to a portion of the wealth which is traded
on the stock markets is an important reality that needs to be grasped.
Is this claim to asset ownership  by the working class via stock ownership
in pension and mutual funds to be understood as:  a) an increase in the
customary value that is represented -- indirectly -- by the wage?; or
b) a claim by the a portion of the working class to the *surplus* value
produced by other workers?

In solidarity, Jerry

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