[OPE-L:5209] [Mike W] Re: use-value as quantitative

From: glevy@pratt.edu
Date: Mon Mar 19 2001 - 12:58:31 EST

From: Michael J Williams
<mjwilliams@dmu.ac.uk> Reply-To: mike.williams@dmu.ac.uk
Subject: RE: [OPE-L:5208] Re: Re: Re: Re: use-value as qualitative?

Date: Mon, 19 Mar 2001 17:54:37 -0000

Well, I would contend that 'the ordinary rules of sentence construction'
certainly do not determine that your interpretation is the *only* correct
one. I will demonstrate this by offering a different interpretation,
entirely iaw these rules. More strongly, it seems to me that this passage
*cannot* bear the interpretation you out upon, but I am not sure how one
could prove such a thing.

We have the following propositions:

1. The exchange value of Labour Power is determined by the cost of
maintaining it
	(For example, half a day's labour may be necessary to keep the
alive during 24 hours)

2. The use value of Labour Power is its daily expenditure in work

[3. These two are totally different things]

4. That the expenditure of labour required to keep the labourer alive for 24
hours is less than one working day (as in the example) does not prevent them
from working a whole day.

Therefore, in the example:

5. The exchange value of labour-power is half a working day's labour

There are no other (relevant) conclusions to be drawn from these
propositions taken alone. In particular that in general (i.e. not just in
this example) 'the use-value of Labour Power is its daily expenditure in
work' (2.) does not imply or even suggest that the use-value of labour power
= 1 working day.

[Note that 3. asserts that the exchange and use values of labour are
'totally different things' - *not* that they differ only quantitatively.]

But, along with many other related propositions about the use-value of
labour Power in Marx's work, we can infer that the use-value of labour power
is that it can produce more value in a day than is required to reproduce it.
It has this use-value for the capitalist just so surplus-value is indeed
positive - regardless of how big that sv is (which is anyway a
*value*-magnitude not a *use-value* magnitude.)

So, as I argued in my last post: use-value may be quantifiable - but not
generally in the same units as value. Even in the case of the very peculiar
'commodity', labour-power, it's use-value to the capitalist - that it can
produce more value (&/or labour time) than is required to reproduce it does
not, per se, make its *use-value* quantifiable in value-units. What is
compared here are two value-quantities: the value needed to reproduce labour
power; and the value of the product of labour (expended labour power).

There are a number of elisions in my arguments here, for the sake of
brevity. But we can fill them in if discussion warrants it, without changing
the conclusions.

Comradely greetings,


-----Original Message-----
From: owner-ope-l@galaxy.csuchico.edu
[mailto:owner-ope-l@galaxy.csuchico.edu]On Behalf Of Steve Keen
Sent: 19 March 2001 14:42
To: ope-l@galaxy.csuchico.edu
Subject: [OPE-L:5208] Re: Re: Re: Re: use-value as qualitative?


"... 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..."

I believe I am entitled to construct, using ordinary rules of sentence

*	    "[T]he exchange-value of the labor-power [is] half a [working]
day's labor";
*	    "its use-value [is] a whole [working] day"

Both these entities are measured in units of socially necessary abstract
labor-time. Let's use Marx's usual 6/12 example:

*	    the exchange-value of labor power is 6 hours labor
*	    the use-value of labor-power is 12 hours labor
*	    the gap between the two is surplus value.

Now if you're not willing to accept that these "two entirely different
magnitudes" are both quantitative entities measured in units of socially
necessary labor-time, then yes, you're correct, there is simply no point in
continuing a substantive discussion.

At 09:06 AM 3/19/01 -0500, you wrote:
>Re Steve K's [5206]:
> > (snip, JL) Marx was using use-value in a distinctly
> > quantitative way when deriving the
> > source of surplus value from the difference
> > between the exchange-value and
> > the use-value of labor-power.
>Marx derived surplus value based on the difference
>between what workers were paid in wages (
>to, on average, the value of labor-power) and
>the value created by those workers. This does
>not require that use-value is quantitative. All it
>requires is that there is surplus labor time, and
>thereby unpaid labor time, and that surplus labor time comes to take the
>value-form. (NB: it ALSO
>requires that the product is sold and thereby
>has its use-value and value validated so that,
>in the circuit M-C-M',  C can be converted into
>Use-value, not as quantity but as quality, is
>presumed. If the product which was presumed
>to have use-value when setting a money price
>prior to sale is shown ex post not to have
>use-value that it can not then also have value
>and exchange-value. I.e. *without this quality
>there can be no quantity*. Thus, uv is necessarily
>*linked* to quantity even though it is not itself
>But, I don't think this discussion (at least in terms
>of the 2 of us) is advancing. I.e. we seem to be
>repeating the same things.  This seems to be based
>on different understandings of the nature of
>the commodity (which, I believe, is based on
>differing methodologies).
>In solidarity, Jerry

Dr. Steve Keen
Senior Lecturer
Economics & Finance
Campbelltown, Building 11 Room 30,
School of Economics and Finance
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.uws.edu.au/steve-keen/

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Mon Apr 02 2001 - 09:57:29 EDT