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In an off-list post Riccardo asked the explain briefly that what Jerry
refered to as the `elimination' procedure in Value-Form and the State,
grounding the thesis that labour is the source of value. In the face of the
interchange between Riccardo en Michael , i.e.:
>>> I would appreciate the shortest answer you may give for 'why *labour* in
>>> the abstract labour theory of value?'.
>>Because 'labour' is Marx's answer to the question How does M => (M + dM)
>>occur? And I agree with that.
>This is very short, thank you.
>Have you a little (not too much) longer answer which does not appeal to
>authority. I thought that you, as me, are not interested as such in the
>word of the master.
Here is the `elimination' in short.
Certainly, all things can be summarized upto any requested amount (up to
finally two or perhaps three words -- guess).
Here goes the elimination process in a few sentences, i.e. the question of
why labour is the source of value.
1) Capitalist production is a two-fould process: production of use-value
and production of value (both at one).
2) Use-value. Permit integration af all production; i.e. macro. WITHIN this
intergrated whole we have 3 factors of production: a) unappropriated
nature; b) means of production (including appropriated nature, such as
land); c) labour [3 factors, cf. Neoclassical economics]. However, looking
at this whole as a CIRCUIT we have only two facors coming from outside as
inputs: a) unappropriated nature; b) labour(power) [two factors, cf Petty,
Marx, Austrian economics].
3) Value. Now look at the same CIRCUIT as value-production, valorisation.
We had before two factors coming from outside. However, unappropriated
Nature cannot (till today) take the value-form (e.g. sun, air, rain). And
surely that poses an ecological danger for the capitalist system (of course
for people in the first place -- but without people no capitalism).
Ergo (and this is what Jerry calls: by elimination), labour-power is the
only factor entering the valorisation circuit from outside: that adds from
outside. (The use-value of labour-power is labour. Labour is a two-fould
entity: physical/concrete labour -- with time dimension if you like -- see
(2); abstract labour -- with money dimension (which is `ideal' money, that
can be looked upon as a precommensuration, during production.
Thus we have one factor of production of value [cf. Marx].
Of course since the notion (1) above is Marx's, we have Marx appearing in
(2) AND (3).
I hope this will do. As always this can be extended again to many more
words. (At the beginning I was joking with a serious undertone about the
two or three word abstract: Being x Nothing (-- Becoming), that is what its
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