[OPE-L:3407] Re: Re: Re: Re: objectivity of value

From: Rakesh Bhandari (bhandari@Princeton.EDU)
Date: Thu Jun 01 2000 - 12:10:47 EDT

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Paul C wrote:
> Note that in capital marx uses the terms abstract labour and average labour
>more or less interchangeably.

 By abstract labor do you mean homegenous social materialisation of
undifferentiated human labor?

 Whilst an average is not directly observable
>it is not unmeasurable. The whole of Taylors school of scientific management
>was based on determining this.

The labor time over which Taylor had control is not yet materialized
universal human labor; nor is quantity of labor time applied to mfg plus
the labor time of the plant, equipment, and raw materials used up abstract
labor in Marx's sense. One cannot measure abstract labor via a conjuction
of these concrete labor times.

 As Marx makes clear in vol 1, the specific social characteristics of
private labors appear *only* within exchange. And men (sic) do not
therefore bring the products of their labor into relation with each other
as values because they see these objects merely as the material integuments
of homogeneous human labor. The reverse is true; by equating their products
to each other in exchange as values, they equate their different kinds of

Only through exchange do commodities suffer a divestiture or transformation
of their real shapes as objects, strip off every trace of their natural and
original use value, and of the the particular kind of useful labor to which
they owe their creation and *putate* into the homogeneous social
materialisation of undifferentiated human labor. This is Marx's language
in Capital 1 (Vintage, p204), not only Critique of Poltical Economy (see my
earlier quote).

To answer Geert Reuten's question, exchange is thus the source of a
commodity's value while the magnitude of value is determined by the the
labor time socially necessary to reproduce a commodity, not labor embodied
(Ricardo) or labor commanded (Smith). How value is actually measured takes
us back to the three peculiarities of the value form the investigation of
which the classical economists (along with quite a few marxists) simply

Yours, Rakesh

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