[OPE-L:5218] Re: [Mike W] Re: use-value as quantitative

From: Steve Keen (s.keen@uws.edu.au)
Date: Tue Mar 20 2001 - 15:04:15 EST

Jerry pointed out to me off-list that (a) this was a post from Mike, not 
Jerry and (b) perhaps I should not give such a dismissive reply. My 
apologies to Jerry, and I'll pose one more question in reply to Michael.

Imagine that we could find a professor of linguistics who had not read any 
Marx, and we gave her this paragraph to read. Do you think she would 
categorically dismiss my construction, and say that yours was the only 
justified interpretation?

For reference, the paragraph is:

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.* (capital I, p. 188.)

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