[OPE-L:4330] Re: Re: SV, labour and machines

From: Rakesh Narpat Bhandari (rakeshb@Stanford.EDU)
Date: Fri Oct 27 2000 - 12:35:14 EDT

Re Andrew's 4327

>  Anyway Marx's argument seems to me to amount to
>the following:
>IF a machine were, in general, to contribute more value in
>production than it initially costs THEN the laws of free exchange -
>ie. supply and demand - entail that its price will go up until equal to
>the sum of (present) value contributed. This is simply the 'law of
>one price': the machine and its contribution to production are
>merely different forms of the same commodity (the potential form
>and the realised form), rather than being two distinct commodities,
>hence their price (present value) is the same. What do you think?

But if  a machine  will tend to be exchanged for the money form of 
the labor time it represents or embodies--this being a supply side 
condition for the production of machines, as I think you 
suggest--then why isn't the working class only exchanging  its labor 
power *at some discount* for the money form of the labor time which 
it agrees to perform? So what if profit comes from the performance of 
greater labor time than for which the working class has *agreed* to 
be paid--this is not necessarily exploitation. It's just a time 
preference for present consumption. I even heard a famous liberal 
Princeton sociologist and race expert suggest that African Americans 
have, as always, an acute case of this working class disposition 
(notice how little they save while buying BMW's and other fancy cars 
out of their income range, she noted about the putative 
quintessential American consumer). At any rate,  all agreements have 
been made in the light of day.

Moreover, as Gil has argued why do we assume that equal labor times 
are being exchanged on the market in the first place? It's obvious 
that capitalists are exchanging their goods at the same markup 
relative to their investment regardless of the relative quantity of 
labor they have employed--so why do we characterize the market as 
fair labor time exchange? "Value" obviously has nothing to do with 
what we observe in the market, so why make it the core of one's 
explanation of observed behavior? Why not just to stick to the 
surface, like Karl Pearson and BF Skinner?

all the best, r

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