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

From: Gerald Levy <>
Date: Fri Apr 09 2010 - 08:29:20 EDT

>I certainly dont want to deny the struggle over wages.
> What I am saying is that if workers are saving then the wage must contain
> part of the social surplus product

Hi Dave Z and Paul B:

Conceptually and practically there is a big difference: within one
formulation, if workers succeed in struggling for
higher wages which includes positive savings then that lessens the rate of
exploitation and represents a transfer
of value from capitalists to workers; within the other formulation, the
savings represent a claim on total surplus
value and could thus be seen as having a hand in the exploitation of other
workers. The latter formulation of
higher wage workers exploiting lower wage workers has significant
theoretical and political implications.

The way I would put it is as follows: workers can succeed within limits
through their struggles in raising
the customary wage and, over time, the value of labour-power. This might
allow for positive savings but
those savings are not large enough to allow for mobility from one class to
another. What it allows for is
consumption by working-class families at a latter date. Their financial and
social (in)security, in effect,
requires that workers have positive savings. Those savings could be thought
of as deferred wages: monies
paid out today but used for the purpose of individual consumption at a
latter date.

In solidarity, Jerry

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Received on Fri Apr 9 08:35:14 2010

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