More about that relative autonomy thing

Tue Oct 4 15:41:12 MDT 1994

Paul Cockshott (I think: I don't get identifying headers on my system) wrote the
following response to Phil Goldstein:

Academics are definitely not working class. They are not in general
exchanging their labour power against capital, they exchange it against
revenues. In this they differ for example from a teacher in a commercial
language school, whose labour power does exchange against capital and
who is subject to an altogether much harsher work discipline.
In addition if one looks at their salaries on sees that they tend
to be about equal to or slightly greater than the value that their
labour would create. This absence of exploitation means that their
class interests are identical with those of the working class, they lead
generally easier and healthier lives, do not suffer poverty etc. These
are all real class differences.

     I'm inclined to agree, except there are two things I don't follow.

     One is the logic of the last two sentences: what "absence of
     exploitation" do you mean, and how would absence of exploitation (of
     all things) make language teachers' interests identical to those of
     the working class (who *are* subject to exploitation)?

     The other question involves the important distinction between
     exchanging labor-power against capital versus against revenues.  What
     are the specific determinations of a "commercial language school" that
     make teachers' salaries there an exchange against capital rather than
     an exchange against revenues?  If by "commercial" you mean a school
     run for profit, then the example of teaching Marx gives in _Capital_
     applies and I (believe) I understand the distinction you are drawing.

     Thanks (in advance) for clarification.

     Gene Holland


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