[OPE-L:2359] Re: Re: RE: RE: Re: Re: value-form theories

From: Allin Cottrell (cottrell@ricardo.ecn.wfu.edu)
Date: Sun Feb 13 2000 - 10:30:37 EST

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On Sun, 13 Feb 2000, nicola taylor wrote:

> The term "abstract labour" as used by Paul C seems to refer
> to simply an homogenous amount of labour without regard for
> its particular form.

Yes. Cf. Marx: "[A]ll labour is an expenditure of human
labour-power, in the physiological sense, and it is in this
quality of being equal, or abstract, human labour that it forms
the value of commodities."

> Paul's view implies a labour theory of value (LTV), in so
> far as there is some principle of accounting whereby labour
> "determines" values always and everywhere.

It implies an LTV, but the rest of the sentence is not right.
It cannot simply be a "principle of accounting" that labour-time
determines values, if this proposition is understood in a
substantive sense, e.g. involving the conformity of relative
embodied labour times and relative prices under capitalism: such
conformity must be the result of definite social-economic
mechanisms, and detecting whether or not such mechanisms are
operative is an empirical matter.

Neither does the view Paul and I have defended imply that labour
determines values "always and everywhere". We're saying that
abstract labour is more or less omnipresent in human economic
history, but it doesn't follow that it is always the key factor
in determining relative real costs. In principle, matters could
be different in a society suffering tight natural resource

Allin Cottrell.

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