unobserved skill

boddhisatva kbevans at
Fri Oct 16 15:09:44 PDT 1998

C. Rakesh,

First, I don't know that lawyers are at the top of the pay heap and I will defend lawyers if necessary. Second, I would say that pursuing a market logic for so-called labor markets is a sure path to insanity. Third, I would turn your logic on its head (while basically agreeing) and say it is not that the bourgeoisie distances itself from labor per se, but that the *only* measure of the value of labor under capitalism is how much it can benefit the capitalist qua capitalist. Thus a lawyer can be very valuable when he holds the key to influence in the judicial system. A design engineer may hold the key to getting intellectual property rights. A management consultant translates the mechanisms of real commerce into the language of finance. An investment banker mediates between capitalists and those who can extend credit. A sports star or movie star mediates between an alienated working class and a corporation's product line.

I would say that there is no real mechanism for recognizing the real economic value of work under capitalism. All that interests capitalists is who ("who" being the smallest number of people) can get them the money and power. That's what they pay for. The rest of the valuation exercise in the labor "market" is essentially incidental.


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