[OPE-L:3279] Re: robots and value

From: Steve Keen (stevekeen10@hotmail.com)
Date: Mon May 22 2000 - 06:15:16 EDT

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Yes Jerry,

I am listening, and I did note Paul's comment (and I've read "Androids
Dream" too by the way Paul; I actually thought that "Bladerunner"
[especially the director's cut] improved on the novel).

It's actually been one of my little jibes against the labor theory of value
notion that machines can't add value--what happens if/when mankind actually
invents a sentient machine? Who's going to tell hit (what other pronoun
could we use?) that hit doesn't produce value?

But that's just my cheeky side...


>From: jlevy@sescva.esc.edu (JERRY LEVY)
>Reply-To: ope-l@galaxy.csuchico.edu
>To: ope-l@galaxy.csuchico.edu
>Subject: [OPE-L:3257] robots and value
>Date: Thu, 18 May 2000 09:59:09 -0400
>Re Paul C's [OPE-L3252]:
>I get the feeling that we have exited the domain of political
>economy and entered into the territory of science fiction ....
> > 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.
>Steve K, are you listening? Paul is agreeing with you that, at
>least in this special case, means of production can be productive
>of value!
>What then becomes of the distinction between dead and living labor?
>With the development of the "universal robot", will it cease to
>be a useful distinction? Should we then consider money capital
>invested in the "universal robot" means of production as
>constituting variable capital?
> > other contemporary workers such as dogs and horses <snip>
>Should money invested in dogs and horses which are put to
>productive use in the capitalist-controlled labor process
>also be counted as variable capital? Do these dogs and
>horses also create value in capitalist society?
> > If artificial ones existed [i.e. universal robots, JL]
> > they would be class allies.
>Wow! So, when (if) there are universal robots, we should enter
>into a class alliance with "them" to overthrow capitalism?
>Can you imagine a scenario where the robots otherthrow the
>capitalist class without human (working-class) allies?
>What makes you think that the robots, which would have been
>created by capitalists and designed to obey, would have the
>capacity to break with their owners and join forces with
>the working-class? Isn't it even more likely that "universal
>robots" would be under the command of capital and could be
>used to kill workers? Indeed, aren't workers (since robots
>can create value from your perspective) entirely redundant
>when and if there is the diffusion of universal robots?
>Speulation along thiese lines makes for interesting literature
>but what conection it has towards understanding political
>economy remains to be seen ... and indeed I am rather
>sceptical of its uses. This kind of speculation, btw, seems
>rather inconsistent with your loud protests against idealism.
>In solidarity, Jerry

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