[OPE-L:3299] Re: objectivity of value

From: Paul Cockshott (wpc@dcs.gla.ac.uk)
Date: Wed May 24 2000 - 05:46:39 EDT

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> Please do note that I have not referred to the
>subjective uncertainty of *prices* but that *value* and *abstract labor*
>themselves--the so called underlying physical realities--remain undefined
>except in relation to a system of prices.

This is a point where we part company, I would go along with Ajit in saying
that the objective measure of value is labour time. This exists prior to
sale as a
property of the input/output matrix.

This is represented to the agents in a capitalist economy in an approximate
form as price. But it does not depend upon price. Price is a form of
of an objectively existing underlying property of the conditions of production.

If one takes the opposite position whereby value only exists after it has been
measured as price, you are philosophically on the ground of neo-classical
subjectivist economics.

Classical political economy, and from the standpoint of the polarity
I treat Marx as classical whatever his particular differences with
Ricardo, treats prices as being due to an underlying objective cause
labour value.

>Moreover, I follow Mattick Jr
>(personal correspondence) in his radical rejection of the idea that value
>can ever be measured (or operationalized). In quantum mechanics a
>probability wave does collapse into a measurement; with value only an
>ultimately unmeasurable quantity (in large part due to the 'distortions' of
>the credit system) is defined by the sale of a good at a price.

I think it is worth noting that the analogy you make with the so called
collapse of the wave function is not philosophically innocent. The terminology
of wave function collapse, quantum measurement etc, comes from the
Copenhagen Interpretation, which is, in my opinion, an idealist philosophical
reprise of the discoveries in physics in the early 20th century. This
interpretation was influenced by the Machist philosophical positions against
which Lenin polemicizes in Materialism and Empirio Criticism.

This idealist interpretation of quantum mechanics shares the same philosophical
grounds as subjectivist economics.

The underlying maths of quantum mechanics, to put it at its weakest,
does not require such interpretations.

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