[OPE-L:1675] Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: technical change and real wages

Subject: [OPE-L:1675] Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: technical change and real wages
From: michael a. lebowitz (mlebowit@sfu.ca)
Date: Mon Nov 15 1999 - 04:31:50 EST

At 01:46 PM 11/8/1999 +0530, Ajit wrote:

>As you had suggested
>earlier, your starting point was given by the wages equal to the value of
>labor-power. In other words, you accepted Marx's proposition that real
wages are
>determined by the amount of goods and services it takes to reproduce the
worker so
>that s/he is able to come to work from one day to another, and has enough
to raise
>children to replace their parents. The strict requirement of this does not
>depend on the minimum physical subsistence but also an historical and
moral element
>is added to it.

        I chose this as the starting point because it was clear it was one you
would accept. However, the central issue is how we reason from that
starting point in the case where we drop the assumption that this "amount
of goods and services..." is given--- ie., where we begin from the
recognition that "the level of the necessaries of life whose total value
constitutes the value of labour power can itself rise or fall".

>> As I had suggested in ope-l #1628, first we should clarify the
case where
>> productivity increases drop from the sky--- ie., there is no displacement
>> of workers. So, in this case, why exactly do you think money wages can not
>> be assumed constant when the money prices of wage goods fall?
>Simply because Marx's theory of wages work in real terms and not nominal
terms. Since
>real wages were determined by the requirement of the reproduction of
labor-power, and
>since nothing has changed on that account due to this fall of new
technology from
>sky, there is no reason to think that the real wages would change in his
>model. Cheers, ajit sinha

        Real terms ex post or ex ante? I assume we agree that the increase in
social productivity would have the effect of lowering the values of wage
goods. So, in this situation, how could real wages *not* increase? And, if
this condition does not change, why would the new use-values now accessible
to workers not become part of the standard of necessity? This would be a
case where the historical/moral/social element expands.
        Again, I stress this in order to underline my earlier point that, *once we
drop the assumption that the standard of necessity is given*, the mere
increase in social productivity (such as is described in Capital) is not
sufficient for the generation of relative surplus value; rather, the effect
of machinery upon the labour market (ie.,in increasing the degree of
separation of workers) is the necessary and sufficient condition for
relative surplus value.

        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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