- Capitalism and Alternatives -

Going over the obvious

Posted by: Stoller on December 24, 1999 at 10:28:14:

In Reply to: Skill: Relative or constant? posted by Gee on December 23, 1999 at 16:18:13:

The statistical verification of a middle class proletarian (in America), so characterized: 25% with a B.A. degree or higher; 25% owning stock (above $2,000; and 25% possessing savings sufficient enough to retire at the age of 65.

: You should be wary of assuming that those 25% all have degrees/stock/pensions. There are plenty of non college high earners in specialised trades and plenty of degree bearing low earners. There are plenty who have one or two of the above, but not all three.

On the average, those with educations at a B.A. level or above earn almost TWICE AS MUCH as those with only a high school education (Statistical Abstract of the United States 1998, table 748, p. 473).

THEREFORE it is quite reasonable to assume that those with B.A. degrees and above would HAVE THE MONEY needed to buy stocks and bank accounts for retirement.

: Increasing automation does away with traditional 'worker' by essentially replacing them. Instead of there being a scrapheap of ever increasing unemployment though - what actually happens is that more and more circulation jobs appear, especially in service industries like insurance, both the web designer and cashier jobs. Why? Circulation work is a vital component of the realised value of a good or service to both user and seller.

Please go back and read those two Marx quotes---carefully, this time.

The more circulation costs increase, the more profits are reduced. The more profits are reduced, the more labor costs (per commodity) must be reduced in order to regain the previous rate of profit. Reducing labor costs is accomplished by either increasing the productivity of machinery to the point where workers are displaced---or by squeezing labor directly.

It is NO SOLUTION to have displaced production sphere workers find jobs in the circulation sphere.

The MORE circulation costs increase (with the increased need for circulation), the LESS value is received from the production process.* This contradiction cannot continue indefinitely. The mode of production under the social relations of capital poses an intrinsic and intransigent contradiction: production sphere labor and capital (AS WELL AS circulation sphere workers) are opposed. To be more precise: circulation work---as well as workers---act as a parasite upon the use-values created in the production sphere.

To minimize the antagnonisms between production sphere workers and circulation sphere workers, I call for UNSKILLED workers in both spheres to recognize their COMMON INTEREST---which is receiving the skill to improve their jobs, their lives and their class interests.


* Of course, this statement is predicated upon Marx's exposition of the labor theory of value, the concept that only the production process creates value. Because circulation of completed commodities doesn't create value, all circulation can do (in its useful---but not use-value creating---circuit) is to drain off value from the commodity.

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