Re: [OPE] Open problems in Marxist economics: Workers' savings

From: Paul Cockshott <>
Date: Wed Apr 07 2010 - 10:19:31 EDT

The problem with this is that it compares different time periods.
If a 20 year old worker in China now has 10% of their income saved in the form of some private pension scheme that channels it into real capital accumulation, what they are getting is a title to a stream of future surplus value in 2055. That future surplus value which may go to pay their pension will have to be accounted for in the accounts of 2055, in the accounts of 2010 the workers savings are an accounting entry that balances part of gross fixed capital formation and must count as C not V.

If we are talking about non-funded pension schemes such as are common in the state sector where current employees pay the pensions of current pensioners, then Paul B is right. But in this case is there really any saving going on? Is it not just a transfer payment?
From: [] On Behalf Of paul bullock []
Sent: Wednesday, April 07, 2010 11:24 AM
To: 'Outline on Political Economy mailing list'
Subject: Re: [OPE] Open problems in Marxist economics: Workers' savings

If workers earn and save it must, practically, be part of v. After all what
happens in old age? V has to represent the cost of reproduction of the
working class from birth to death. The state will ensure that this doesn't
get out of hand if temporarily capital loses its head; thus once workers are
retired they have to draw on savings to extend their lives further. The
extent of their lives is, as Jerry says, a function of the overall state of
accumulation and its political reflection.


-----Original Message-----
From: []
On Behalf Of Gerald Levy
Sent: 07 April 2010 01:03
To: Outline on Political Economy mailing list
Subject: Re: [OPE] Open problems in Marxist economics: Workers' savings

> Do workers' savings form a part of the total surplus value?

Hi Dave Z;

I would say 'no': they form a part of the total value of labor power.
Like the wage, the VLP has cultural and moral elements and should
not be (mis-) understood as simply equal to the minimum required
(regardless of time and space) for physical subsistence.

What exactly is the problem here from your perspective?

In solidarity, Jerry
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Received on Wed Apr 7 10:21:48 2010

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