Value and wages/Keen (fwd)

glevy at glevy at
Sun Aug 6 20:57:43 MDT 1995

Steve Keen sent me the following post which he obviously intended for the
list so I am forwarding it to you -- Jerry

Jerry's suggested interpretation of Marx referring to the value
of labor-power as the minimum wage is part of the story, but the
"historical and cultural" concept relates to the value of
labor-power, rather than to the level of the wage:

As a commodity, the value of labour power is determined like that of any
other commodity, by the labour-time necessary for its production. The
capitalist purchaser of labour power pays for labour power at its value,
and this reduces itself to "the value of the means of subsistence
necessary for the maintenance of the labourer."(**Marx, K.*,
*Capital* Volume I, Progress Press, Moscow, 1954, p. 167. Marx continues
on page 168 that this is dependent "on the habits and degree of comfort
in which the class of free labourers has been formed... there enters
into the determination of the value of labour power a historical and
moral element.")

The relation of the wage to this social datum is a separate issue.
So my argument is that, in Marx's logic, the value of labor-power
includes the historical and moral elements specific to each
society, but the question of how much the wage exceeds this
level is a separate issue.

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