[OPE-L:1640] Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: technical change and real wages

Subject: [OPE-L:1640] Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: technical change and real wages
From: michael a. lebowitz (mlebowit@sfu.ca)
Date: Sat Nov 06 1999 - 21:07:38 EST

At 06:40 PM 11/2/1999 +0100, Chris wrote:
>I am sorry to be so late raising this point. Mike L states that Marx's
>*Capital* assumes a fixed real wage. IMO this is not quite correct. It is
>certainly the Volume 1 assumption but in Volume 3 it is displaced by the
>assumption of a fixed rate of exploitation, both in the discussion of the
>average rate of profit and the falling rate of profit.

        Maybe I'm missing something, Chris, but I don't see any reason why Marx
would *need* to relax the Vol. 1 assumption in Vol. 3 and, in fact, he uses
much the same language in Vol. 3 as in Vol. 1. Further, the assumption of
equal rates of exploitation in relation to Marx's discussion of the average
rate of profit in Pt. 2 of Vol 3 doesn't pertain to his assumption of a
fixed real wage. Rather, it is concerned with a point in time and proceeds
from the assumption that freedom of entry and exit has more or less
equalised both wages and hours of work between sectors (and, implicitly,
that the same average level of social productivity for determination of the
level of necessary labour applies in all sectors). In terms of
*presentation* of the falling rate of profit discussion, it's not
surprising that Marx began with the same "law" he had been exploring in a
point in time (ie., the rate of profit varying inversely with the
value-composition of capital with the rate of surplus value assumed equal).
Nevertheless, right from his initial investigation (in the Grundrisse) to
Vol 3 (as Ajit and Jerry note), he was clear that the rate of surplus
value would rise.

        in solidarity,
Michael A. Lebowitz
Economics Department
Simon Fraser University
Burnaby, B.C., Canada V5A 1S6
Office: Phone (604) 291-4669
        Fax (604) 291-5944
Home: Phone (604) 872-0494
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