[OPE-L:3936] Re: class struggle & equalization of the wage/profit ratio

Paul Cockshott (wpc@cs.strath.ac.uk)
Mon, 6 Jan 1997 03:37:07 -0800 (PST)

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>(2) The proposition above that "If firms have very high profit to wage
>ratios, workers will struggle ..." seems to me to be a rather mechanistic
>conception of the class struggle. If you want to discuss class struggle
>more concretely, then we need to look at some other important factors such
>as, on the one side, the degree of trade union organization (and
>militancy and solidarity) and, on the other side, the size of the
>industrial reserve army (this relates to our previous discussion on
>"labour-power shortages").

This is all true, but not relevant to the question as to whether
there is likely to be a correlation between ability to gain wage increases
and the profit/wage ratio of the firm.
>(3) *Why* would this struggle between labor and capital tend to "equalize
>the wage/profit ratio or the apparent rate of surplus value among firms
>(and what _is_ the "apparent rate of surplus value")?
It will not tend to equalise it, but it will tend to limit the dispersion
of the wage profit ratio. Apparent rate of surplus value is the ratio
of wages to profits in an individual firm or industry, may not be the real
rate due to product selling above or below value.

>(4) What evidence is there that there is a tendency to equalize the
>wage/profit ratio among firms in: a) the same branch of production?; b)
>different branches of production?; c) internationally? Inquiring minds
>want to know.

Evidence is there for a limited dispersion of the wage profit ratio
both within a given economy (Allin an my paper 'Does Marx Need to Transform'),
and evidence of a international limit on the dispersion is provided
in Farjoun and Machovers book.

Paul Cockshott