[OPE-L:594] Re: value-creating power

Paul Cockshott (wpc@clyder.gn.apc.org)
Wed, 29 Nov 1995 10:38:31 -0800

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Training or education are to be put into the process of reproduction of
power, not to be put directly into the process of labor. So their value
transfered to the value of labor power, not to the value of labor.
I think Paul should have questioned what are the grounds I have for
assuming that money spent on training is any different from money
spent on other _consumer_ _products_?

I disagree. Training is part of the socially necessary time of

If I start a software project to write a database system using
Microsoft windows, and hire a some graduates who are trained in
Unix, I have to allow for them to spend several months familiarising
themselves with Windows before they can write any useful code.
The time they spend reading the manuals and practicing with the
system is a necessary part of the total time spent on the product.

I can of course hire someone who already knows Windows, and get
the project completed faster, and thus a Windows expert will command
a higher salary, but this is because their time of work experience
has already been spent on some other project. The time of work
experience/training is still a necessary input to the product.
It is quite different from consumer goods like holidays on the
Mediterranean, which, however enjoyable, are not necessary to

This becomes particularly clear when one considers social production
as a whole. The particular body of technology used by a society
presupposes both an allocation of the labour force to produce
the means of production, and a parallel allocation of part of the
social working day in familiarisation with the technology.
Both are equally necessary on purely technical grounds, one does
not need any special value based argument to back it up.

Without trained VLSI designers, process engineers etc, it is
just impossible to set up a factory producing DRAMS. The training
is just as necessary as furnaces, molecular beam epitaxy machines
etc. This is a matter of use values - which Marx says is the
appropriate study of technology rather than political economy.