[OPE-L:3435] Re: objectivity of value

From: Paul Cockshott (wpc@dcs.gla.ac.uk)
Date: Mon Jun 05 2000 - 08:08:24 EDT

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At 11:31 02/06/00 -0400, you wrote:

>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).

I think that this was a serious mistake on marx's part. I think from
previous posts that Ajit agrees with me here.

I do not think that Marx consistently held the view that the value of
a commodity was determined by considerations of effective demand.
He vacilates on this, accepting it at times, rejecting it at others.
If I recall correctly he decisively rejects this notion in the
notes on Wagner, I no longer have a copy of this so I am
hard placed to back this up.

If you accept it, you might as well throw away the whole structure
of the theory of value and become a folllower of Hayek, since the
problematic of the labour theory of value is inconsistent with allowing
effective demand to have any role in determining value as opposed
to current market price.

> 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).

Hayek could not have put it better. Thence we have the eternity of the
market and of capitalist production relations.

>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).

If you meant money say money. Clearly what Taylor was measuring was not
money it was labour time.

> >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?

My prefered method of doing this is to look at the labour embodied in the
total quantity of exports and equate this, subject to scaling for the balance
of trade with the price of the imports. One then uses this to give a labour
to money equivalence for the imports row in the i/o tables for each industry.

For now, given the differential productivities of labour in different countries
and the absence of free movement between countries, one should compute
labour values in terms of the labours of different countries. I hour of French
labour should not be assumed to be equivalent to 1 hour of US labour.

>Yours, Rakesh

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