[OPE-L:5214] Re: Re: waste, value, and potential

From: Rakesh Narpat Bhandari (rakeshb@Stanford.EDU)
Date: Tue Mar 20 2001 - 12:12:23 EST

re 5213

>While re-reading  Vol 1, Ch 7, Section 2
>in connection with another thread, I  noticed the
>following that has significance for this thread:
>(From the paragraph that begins: "Moreover,
>the time spent in production counts only in so
>far as it is socially necessary for the production of
>a use-value"): "Lastly -- and for this purpose our
>friend (the capitalist, JL) has a penal code of
>his own -- all wasteful consumption of raw material
>or instruments of labour is strictly forbidden,
>because what is wasted in this way represents a
>superfluous expenditure of quantities of
>objectified labour that does not count in the
>product or enter into its value." (Penguin ed, 303).

Here Marx underlines that it is labor as a pure quantity, not 
general utility, which is meaningful to a producer. There is a 
practical meaning to the incommensurability of value and use value 
which I believe Steve is missing.  The capitalist himself cares about 
labor, not general or special utility. As Wm J Blake long ago 
underlined, the capitalist abstracts everything on earth except 
quantity of labor. He does not even care about the type of labor, 
about anything in fact, except labor in the abstract as a quantity. 
If a customer asks him to make the food sweet or sour, he will make 
either. If you want your toys round or square, he'll declare that the 
customer is always right. You want a sweater red or blue, he'll 
oblige you either way. But you want to put more labor into it? Ah, 
that's different. The salesman will abstract all natural qualities; 
they are indifferent to him. But on labor, that too is indifferent to 
him as a quality. But quantity of labor, more or less labor, that is 
different. In so far as the above qualities cost more or less labor, 
in that proportion will he be "obliging" or "resistant" to the 

Best, Rakesh

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