More about that relative autonomy thing

Paul W. Cockshott cockshpw at
Wed Oct 5 08:01:22 MDT 1994

On what I said comparing academics and workers. There was a typo
in my statement, what I meant to type was

This absense of exploitation means that their interests are not
identical with those of the working class.

I missed the word not out. By exchanging against revenue rather than
against capital I mean basically that an employee in a non profit making
organisation is not being used to expand the sum of value under the
control of the organisation. A worker whose labour power exchanges against
capital replaces her wages with a surplus, one whose labour power exchanges
against revenue depends ultimately upon value produced elsewhere and
transfered through the form of private or public revenues.

A commercial language school is a self expanding capital, a public university
generally is not. There may of course be intermediate institutions, but
the dividing point is whether they just break even or make a profit.

Paul Cockshott

On Tue, 4 Oct 1994, eugeneh wrote:

> 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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