Jose/Higher wages and productivity

michael perelman michael at
Wed Oct 20 21:49:09 MDT 1999

Phil and Jose are witing along lines that have fascinated me for a long time.

I don't think any particular school of thought emphasized the effect of high
wages on productivity, although isolated writers did do so.  I believe that high
wages were indeed central to the productivity lead that the United States
developed.  I've written about this in a number of books.

Gardens, and even the raising of livestock, was common in New York in the early
1800s.  I've also written about the dialectical role of gardens, in terms of both
providing a means of resistance to capital, as well as increasing every surplus
value by cheapening of labor-power.

> In New Zealand in the 1800s (and right up to today in fact), most workers
> have had vege gardens and so on and thus take care of part of their own
> subsistence, thereby cheapening the *cost* of labour-power.  I wonder
> whether this was the case in the USA.  (I can't imagine too many workers
> with vege gardens in New York; but maybe in other parts of the country?)

Michael Perelman
Economics Department
California State University
Chico, CA 95929

Tel. 530-898-5321
E-Mail michael at

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