[OPE-L:2350] RE: RE: Re: Re: value-form theories

From: Michael Williams (mwilliam@dmu.ac.uk)
Date: Fri Feb 11 2000 - 13:01:47 EST

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-----Original Message-----
From: clyder [mailto:wpc@dcs.gla.ac.uk]
Sent: Friday, February 11, 2000 2:44 PM
To: mike.williams@dmu.ac.uk
Subject: Re: [OPE-L:2347] RE: Re: Re: value-form theories

 Paul wrote:
>>> All societies, including socialist or communist ones must have a
>>> for regulating the distribution of labour into different concrete
>>> activities.
> >>Why does this not make sense?

Michael wrote
>> It does, but 'abstract labour' is an element of the specifically
>> (specific) labour allocation mechanism.

Paul replied:
>Yes but from that it does not follow that abstract labour does not
>exist in other modes of production. If we stick with the dichotomy that
>used of abstract versus concrete labour, the labour that non capitalist
>societies distribute between concrete activities is clearly not itself
>concrete, so under the dichotomy concrete/abstract it must be

>When GOSPLAN were deciding how the 20 million increase in the
>labour force anticipated in the next 5 year plan was to be distributed
>they were doing calculations in terms of abstract labour, in the sense
>that prior to deciding how it was to be allocated, its concrete form
>had not been determined.
Michael interjects:
That is not the sense in which VFT uses 'abstract labour'. Specifically, it
is not just some formless mush waiting to be realized as 'concrete'-specific

Paul C continued:
>As you say, 'abstract labour' is an element of the specifically capitalist
>(specific) labour allocation mechanism, but it is also an element of the
>specifically socialist labour allocation mechanism.

Michael W. suggests:
That it may be time to just agree that we use the term 'abstract labour'
differently. VFT is concerned with a socially constituted category of
abstract labour that is relevant precisely only to capitalist society.
Cockshott & Cottrell seem to deal with a trans-historical, primarily
physiological notion of so-called abstract labour that is an aspect of the
species being of humankind.

I would argue that the VFT category is the capitalism-specific social form
of the C&C notion, and that that is what Marxism is primarily concerned
with - social not physiological determination.
Comradely greetings
Dr Michael Williams
Economics and Social Sciences
De Montfort University
Milton Keynes
fax: 0870 133 1147
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