Re: [OPE-L] Complex and simple labour

From: Anders Ekeland (anders.ekeland@ONLINE.NO)
Date: Sat Jun 09 2007 - 05:48:42 EDT

>Hi Anders:
>I don't think that's a solution at all.  The issue here
>shouldn't be primarily interpretive in the sense of
>trying to grasp what were or were not Marx's perspectives
>on this issue.  The issue here rather concerns a very real
>distinction concerning the everyday working of the capitalist
>mode of production.

Agreed - especially since Marx' is so unclear on this issue.

>We shouldn't
>be attempting to develop merely a basic understanding of
>this distinction but should rather be attempting to grasp
>the importance of it in a layered analysis which includes more
>concrete levels of abstraction.

Agreed again, but there are some fundamental issues that can not be
avoided. If Marx thought that a damask-weaver or jeweler (complex
labour) produced twice as much value as a spinner or a farm worker -
what do that mean for our attitudes towards observed wage
differences? Are they unjust or just - since some kinds of labour
produce more value per hour? And if wage differences are just since
some kinds of labour are of a "higher" more "delicate" nature how
shall we find the true reduction coefficients in order to adjust
wages to them - if we do not accept the existing wage differences?

There are some fundamental issues here, with great consequences for
strategic union policies that cannot be avoided. We need serious,
reflected (scientific) studies of these questions.


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