[OPE-L:3421] objectivity of value

From: Rakesh Bhandari (bhandari@Princeton.EDU)
Date: Fri Jun 02 2000 - 11:31:21 EDT

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Re: 3415

Paul C wrote:

>I mean what Marx means in the following :
>>But the value of a commodity represents
>> human labour in the abstract, the expenditure of human labour in
>> general. And just
>> as in society, a general or a banker plays a great part, but mere
>> man, on the other
>> hand, a very shabby part, [14] so here with mere human labour. It
>> is the
>> expenditure of simple labour-power, i.e., of the labour-power
>> which, on an average,
>> apart from any special development, exists in the organism of every
>> ordinary
>> individual. Simple average labour, it is true, varies in character
>> in different countries
>> and at different times, but in a particular society it is given.

Paul, technical norms enter into the determination of socially necessary
labor time, but this is not the exhaustive determination of the latter. I
have quoted further determinations (e.g. what Allin has called the socially
required stipulation). Indeed it is because a commodity only becomes a
value upon successful sale that producers are forced to conform to
technical norms. Without the disciplining of exchange it is not possible to
understand why the producer is confronted with the social necessity of
conforming to technical norms (John Weeks has made this argument).

At any rate, the question in this full paragraph concerns where can see say
in both practical and theoretical terms the reduction of complex or
intensified labor into a a specific quantity of simple labor occurs.

>>The labor time over which Taylor had control is not yet materialized
>>universal human labor;
>What the hell is that?

As Marx clearly says in the passage which I quoted--this is his hellish
phrase, not mine, do note with whom you are exasperated here--materialized
universal human labor is what concrete labor expended in production becomes
upon successful exchange for money (John Weeks elaborates this argument).

In the Critique of Poltical Economy passage which I quoted earlier, Marx
seems to consider the possibility of latent value in terms of a potentia in
Aristotlean philosophy, that is something that was standing in the middle
between the idea of an event and the actual event, a strange kind of
reality just in the middle between possibility and reality. I am saying
that Marx however tended to the more radical view (as evident in passages
from Capital already quoted) that value only comes into being with price
measurement despite the real difficulty this view may pose for our common
sense that there must always be a reality prior to our measurement of it.

>True Taylor was not doing that. But given the data collected by work study
>techniques one could compute the value added in a given process. It is
>then in principle a simple recursive procedure using an i/o table to
>compute the value
>contents of the inputs.

Again, my argument has not been against such estimates. Paul, I do have a
question which is of growing concern: will this process work if we
understand outsourcing to include in addition to imports specifically by
US or UK multinationals all imported intermediate or final goods that are
used in the production of an American or British firm, or sold under its
brand name. Is it not possible for there to be in such conditions given a
distortion of where the value added really is, given how it will show up in
the national accounts. Also these goods are sold several times after
import. Does this create complications?
How will the national accounts work in a globalized economy?

Yours, Rakesh

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