Labor aristocracy/ Conspiracy theory of Marilyn Monroe's death

Mike Ballard swillsqueal at
Fri Feb 7 17:30:29 MST 2003

True.  Highly skilled workers may be the most
exploited wage-slaves because the product which they
create may contain much more exchange-value.  S/V
--- Charles Brown <BrownBingb at> wrote:
> 1)<ALL exploitation is "measured in surplus value",
> which may be
> "absolute" or "relative".  Oppression is not the
> issue. Of course some
> workers (black, women, 3d world etc) are more
> oppressed than
> others. But paradoxically, they may be less
> exploited, because they
> are less productive and the bosses can therefore
> extract less surplus
> value from them.
> ^^^^^^^^
> CB: 1) This issue always comes up in this
> discussion. I can never quite fully
> pin it down .
> Just because labor is more productive does not mean
> that the bosses can
> therefore extract more surplus value from it.


> labor,or variable
> capital, is the only source of value and surplus
> value (exchange value) in
> Marx's conception.

Not the only source of wealth though.  Nature is also
very much part of the wealth equation.

Constant capital is not a source
> of surplus value.
> However, productivity increases as the proportion of
> constant to variable
> capital increases. In general, the greater
> proporation of constant capital to
> variable capital is introduced because it increases
> productivity. That is it
> allows the same number of units of commodities to be
> produced with fewer
> human labor hours, i.e. with less variable capital (
> in Marx's Vol. 1
> discussion ; I have some recall that Michael Perlman
> may advise that this
> gets more complicated as the analysis is more
> concrete in Vol. III; or is
> that a different issue ?). Since variable capital is
> the only source of
> surplus value, the reduction in the proportion of
> surplus value means less
> surplus value per unit commodity. So, workers
> working with higher
> technological instruments of production, i.e. less
> labor intensive production
> is less rich in surplus value.

It's the total pile of commodities that counts--the
social product of labour.

Workers in
> imperialist countries and
> industries are in general using more efficient
> technology and more productive
> thereby, but does that make them a richer or poorer
> source of surplus value ?
> Not necessarily (?)

There is something Marx calls 'socially necessary
labour time' which has a role to play in the
marketplace for commodities.  While there is more
exchange-value embodied in one hand made violin than
in one assembly line version, it is the assembly line
version which dominates the marketplace for
commodities because the socially necessary labour time
emobodied in it sets the standard.

In other words, a single person with a shovel may
produce a very expensive hole, while a single person
in a steam shovel may produce the same hole more
cheaply, even though depreciation of the steam shovel
(dead labour) will go into said hole.


Mike B)


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