Re: [OPE-L] Workers' savings, a form of surplus value?

From: Gerald_A_Levy@MSN.COM
Date: Fri Sep 02 2005 - 10:06:31 EDT

> I have a brief question: Do you agree that workers' savings form a
> part of the total surplus value?
> That is not the case in the framework used by e.g. Foley but it
> follows if one holds the monetary value of the surplus product
> equivalent to the monetary surplus value.

Dave Z:

For what it's worth, I do not agree that workers' savings constitute
a part of the total surplus value.  Rather, I believe that we should view
workers' savings as constituting a portion of the total _value_.

Assuming that the wage equals the value of labour-power,  if workers
are able to save some portion of their wage then at the simplest level of
understanding it means that workers are defraying consumption expenditures
now with the intent of consuming more at a later date.  One has to recall
that the wage does not equal the subsistence requirements of workers
narrowly and physically understood. Rather the wage and the value of labour
power have a cultural and moral component which changes over time
and is different in different social formations.  This is largely a
consequence of the class struggles that have occurred over time in
different social formations which have resulted in new cultural
understandings and standards for what constitutes workers' needs.

Moreover,  given the existence of an industrial reserve army (and hence
uncertainty by workers about job security and future earnings) and the
lack of state policies that provide for retirement and future medical
expenses,  then some level of savings by workers is required to meet
their real or potential future needs.

However, perhaps others on the list believe that workers' savings
constitute a portion of the aggregate surplus value.  If so, then I'd like
to hear what their reasoning is.

In solidarity, Jerry

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