[Marxism] work-needs

John A Imani johnaimani at earthlink.net
Wed Jul 16 11:17:46 MDT 2008

Message: 2 Date: Tue, 15 Jul 2008 22:34:14 -0400 (GMT-04:00) 
From: "s.artesian" <sartesian at earthlink.net> 
Subject: Re: [Marxism] work-needs 

<<...this does not change the equivalence of the working day for the producers, and the essential basis for the equality of wages. Wages are not, under capitalism, automatically determined by the values of the commodities produced. Wages under socialism cannot be "graded" on the basis of quantities of use-values produced per worker. We are not, with socialism, accumulating values. We are supposed to be consciously directing production for the satisfaction of need. I think the problem I describe with railroad workers points out the impossibility of making that sort of differentiation based of "quantities" produced."

Deeply empathetic with the equivalence of labors implicit in S. Artesian’s postings it is, nonetheless, necessary to point out that:
The value of labor-power (v), as much as any commodity, depends upon it’s cost of (re-) production.  And in what does the value-in-use of this particular peculiar commodity consist?  In its abilities to (a.) conserve (though in a different form) the values of the means of production (c) upon which it acts; and, singular amongst all commodities, in its ability to b.) add new value in the form of an output of products whose aggregate value exceeds the costs of its inputs.

Assuming a general rate of surplus-value (S’) whereby all laborers are exploited at a uniform rate, then the value produced, on average, by the individual laborer (l) stands in direct proportion to both the cost of production of his labor-power ( r ) and to the value added by his labor (which, under capitalism is the surplus-value (s)).  Or,	 
					l| r|s

One could also add that the wage (v) stands in similar proportion.

A deduction that could be drawn from the above is that the more costly the labor-power, the greater the value produced and reproduced (s + v = l).

Now, as much as much as we might like and strive to set up the conditions that will ameliorate the consequent inequalities that this implicates, the fact is that the economics of Marx is clear that the value-adding abilities of different labor-powers (and, not so clearly but nonetheless implicit, amongst different laborers of the same labor-powers) so long as these are the results of  differing costs of production will be different. 
The question of equality of compensation must be one that is debated in the social sphere of distribution as argument for such a proposition is not to be found in the sphere of production.  That is okay.  It in no way undermines the argument for such an equalization, it merely transfers the debate to a different arena.


Marx from the CotGP:

“What we have to deal with here is a communist society, not as it has developed on its own foundations, but, on the contrary, just as it emerges from capitalist society; which is thus in every respect, economically, morally, and intellectually, still stamped with the birthmarks of the old society from whose womb it emerges. Accordingly, the individual producer receives back from society -- after the deductions have been made -- exactly what he gives to it. What he has given to it is his individual quantum of labor. For example, the social working day consists of the sum of the individual hours of work; the individual labor time of the individual producer is the part of the social working day contributed by him, his share in it. He receives a certificate from society that he has furnished such-and-such an amount of labor (after deducting his labor for the common funds); and with this certificate, he draws from the social stock of means of consumption as much as the same amount of labor cost. The same amount of labor which he has given to society in one form, he receives back in another. 

Here, obviously, the same principle prevails as that which regulates the exchange of commodities, as far as this is exchange of equal values.”


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