[OPE-L:5216] Re: Re: Re: waste, value, and potential

From: Steve Keen (s.keen@uws.edu.au)
Date: Tue Mar 20 2001 - 14:35:56 EST

I don't "miss" this practical meaning, Rakesh, it's an integral part of my 
appreciation of Marx. He treats the capitalist as a "consumer" of 
use-values in the M--C--M+ circuit where he doesn't give a shit about the 
qualitative aspects of the commodities he buys: all he cares about are 
their quantitative impacts on increasing his wealth. That is why use-value 
is quantitative in the M-_C--M+ circuit, whereas it is qualitative in the 
C--M-_C circuit.

At 09:12 AM 3/20/01 -0800, you wrote:
>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 customer.
>Best, Rakesh

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
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