[OPE-L:4135] Re: Re: use value and value

From: Andrew Brown (Andrew@lubs.leeds.ac.uk)
Date: Tue Oct 17 2000 - 07:11:51 EDT


The argument of Marx that you summarise does not rest on the 
fact that labour is 'quantitative'. For, of course use-values other than 
labour also have a quantitative dimension, as you point out. Rather, 
Marx's argument is that actual labour performed is something 
entirely different from labour-power. Hence the price of labour-power 
is not linked to its contribution to production, hence surplus value 
is possible. In this labour is unique, for other means of production 
are not separate from their contribution to production, hence the 
(discounted) present value of their contribution is contained in their 
price - they cannot create surplus value.

(That summarises the key thesis of the final third of my PhD 


On 17 Oct 2000, at 14:24, Steve Keen wrote:

> Marx's argument with respect to labor is that its use-value to the
> capitalist is quantitative: "its daily expenditure in work ... is its
> use-value":
> The past labor that is embodied in the labor power, and the
> living labor that it can call into action; the daily cost of
> maintaining it, and *its daily expenditure in work*, are two
> totally different things. The former determines the
> exchange-value of the labor power, the latter *is its use-value*.
> The fact that half a [working] day's labor is necessary to keep
> the laborer alive during 24 hours, does not in any way prevent
> him from working a whole day. Therefore, the value of labor
> power, and the value which that labor power creates in the labor
> process, are two entirely different magnitudes; and this
> difference of the two values was what the capitalist had in
> view, when he was purchasing the labor power... What really
> influenced him was the specific use-value which this commodity
> possesses of being a source not only of value, but of more value
> than it has itself. This is the special service that the
> capitalist expects from labor power, and in this transaction he
> acts in accordance with the 'eternal laws' of the exchange of
> commodities. The seller of labor power, like the seller of any
> other commodity, realizes its exchange-value, and parts with its
> use-value. (Ibid, p. 188.)
> Why should the same not apply to machinery?--should not its use-value to a
> capitalist also be quantitative?
> Steve
> At 18:51 16/10/00 -0700, you wrote:
> >Why would it alter the use value to a capitalist.  He might choose a superior
> >use value, but the use value will be unaffected.
> >
> >Steve Keen wrote:
> >
> >> Michael,
> >>
> >> It might alter the use-value of an abacus to a capitalist!
> >>
> >
> >--
> >Michael Perelman
> >Economics Department
> >California State University
> >Chico, CA 95929
> >
> >Tel. 530-898-5321
> >E-Mail michael@ecst.csuchico.edu
> >
> >
> Dr. Steve Keen
> Senior Lecturer
> Economics & Finance
> University of Western Sydney Macarthur
> Building 11 Room 30,
> Goldsmith Avenue, Campbelltown
> PO Box 555 Campbelltown NSW 2560
> Australia
> s.keen@uws.edu.au 61 2 4620-3016 Fax 61 2 4626-6683
> Home 02 9558-8018 Mobile 0409 716 088
> Home Page: http://bus.macarthur.uws.edu.au/steve-keen/

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