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> -----Original Message-----
> From: firstname.lastname@example.org
> [mailto:email@example.com]On Behalf Of JERRY LEVY
> Sent: Thursday, May 18, 2000 2:59 PM
> To: firstname.lastname@example.org
> Subject: [OPE-L:3257] robots and value
> Re Paul C's [OPE-L3252]:
> Jerry writes
> I get the feeling that we have exited the domain of political
> economy and entered into the territory of science fiction ....
> In response to Paul C's:
> > A universal robot, capable of any type of labour, is an
> > abstract labourer, its labour would be productive of value
> > in the same way as human labour.
I wonder if the problem is connected with Paul C.'s insistence on a purely
technical definition of value (in a recent response to Rakesh), explicitly
rejecting what he (and Ajit) perceived of as Marx's contradictory definition
in terms of distribution and exchange.
What is wrong with robots being equated with the actual emergence of
abstract labour can be illustrated by the classic thought experiment about
the limiting case of a fictional fully automated economy. Leaving aside
technical feasibility, would such an economy have the same dynamic as
It seems to me that the answer must be no! Under capitalism the bulk of the
population get access (via distribution and exchange) to the social product
through the wage relation. Since in our robotic distopia, however abundant
the social product, we have no wage-labour, there will have to be some other
distributive mechanism. Whatever it is, it will not be capitalistic. Such a
notional economy would have some other dynamic than capitalism.
"What is matter? - Never mind. What is mind? - No matter."
Dr Michael Williams
Economics and Social Sciences
De Montfort University
tel: +1908 834876
[Home: +1703 768641]
fax: 0870 133 1147
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