Value & Wages

John R. Ernst ernst at
Sun Aug 6 20:27:11 MDT 1995

In his discussion  of  the wage and the value of labor-power,    Steve
distinguishes between the two  concepts by defining the value of
labor-power  as the minimum  necessary for labor-power to survive  and by
stating that  the wage can be above that value because of the demands of
workers.   I note that the textual support for Steve's  argument is from
Marx's work prior to the first book of CAPITAL.   In CAPITAL,  we  find
that the value of labor-power  is, unlike other commodities, determined  in
part by " a historical and moral element."

In CAPITAL,  we also see that an increasing wage is not simply  the result
of workers' demands but the process of accumulation itself.  That process
controls the supply  of and demand for labor- power  and hence determines
the degree to which  the wage rises above or falls below the value of
labor-power. It  would seem that the militance of workers plays but a minor
role in the matter as long as the struggle stays within the confines of the
capitalist process of accumulation.

The Best,


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