Re: [OPE] Ricardo and The Iron Law Of Wages

From: Gerald Levy (
Date: Tue Jul 15 2008 - 07:47:31 EDT

> Saying the wage is given for the theory of value does not mean that  the 
> wage is fixed over time.

Hi Robert:

If a theory of value  _requires_ a given wage, then the scope of that
theory is so limited so as to have no practical applicability and
necessary connection to the rest of one's theory.  It's one thing
to _assume_ a given wage, it's quite another to _require_ it.

>  When I suggested that if wages are above subsistence,  the class 
> structure of capitalism will not be reproduced, I meant  subsistence here 
> to include social norms about consumption; I am not  referring to a 
> physiological minimum.

Those social norms are themselves variables that can change over time.
In any event,  if the prospect of workers' savings is precluded by a
theory, what does the _reality_ of workers' savings - and how that
has _not_ in  actual fact  threatened the reproduction of class relations
under capitalism  - mean for the theory?

It would seem to me that in attempting to shave too closely with Ockham's
Razor, they have cut and disfigured their image of the face to the point
where it's unclear who/what the real subject is. There is also the question
raised above of  how a theory faces up to the empirical/historical
evidence. Assumptions, like razors, if improperly used, can be potentially
lethal  (to a theory and a  life respectively).

In  solidarity, Jerry 

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