[OPE-L:7581] [OPE-L:1132] Re: A Review of Lapides' Marx's Wage theory

From: zarembka@acsu.buffalo.edu
Date: Mon Sep 06 1999 - 08:21:43 EDT

On 09/06/99, Ajit Sinha <ajitsinha@lbsnaa.ernet.in> said:

>Paul, on page 243 Lapides writes: "We have only to substitute
>'immiseration thesis' for 'iron law of wages' to see with what contempt >Marx would have reacted had he lived to see how his theory was reduced >to caricature."

>Again, on page 244 he wtites: "Is there anything in Marx's writings that
>might mislead someone to thinking that he subscribed to a wage theory
>*based on* 'increasing misery'?" (emphasis mine)

>This is quite revealing. If one understands increasing misery thesis
>correctly, one would know that a theory of wages cannot be *based on* >it.

In fact, you and Lapides are making the SAME point but only in different
words. He is making his point, by drawing out the hypothetical IF one were
have wage theory "based on" immiseration.

>It is a result of an analysis, a prediction of the theory. A theory >cannot be based on its predictions. On the other hand a theory of wages >can be based on a *law*, in this case the iron law of wages. Lapides >makes the blunder of confusing the two in his mind. Cheers, ajit sinha

Lapides is not confused, just writes/analyzes differently than yourself.
The cited chapter is the last chapter in Lapides' book and doesn't
represent his theoretical conclusion, but an APPLICATION of his
conclusions to the immiseration debate. "In previous chapters we have
followed the development of Marx's theory in detail, and though it was
combed for every significant feature, once the transition was made from
its first formulation to its final mature expression, no prediction of
falling real wages was found, nor was one implied. Only a fall in the
*value* of labor power, due to risinng productivity (which could lead to
higher material consumption), can be ascribed to Marx." (p. 238)

If you disagree with Lapides it should be around this issue, not
immiseration which "has been a herring in the interpretation of Marx's
work" (Lapides, p. 257, citing Kuehne).

As far as I read your review you don't fault Lapides much on his prior
eleven chapters (and applaude him on the issue of whether there is a
'missing book' on wage labor--Lapides' Chapter 11).


Paul Zarembka, supporting RESEARCH IN POLITICAL ECONOMY at
******************** http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/PZarembka

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Sun Feb 27 2000 - 15:27:08 EST