[OPE-L:5221] RE: Re: [Mike W] Re: use-value as quantitative

From: Michael J Williams (mjwilliams@dmu.ac.uk)
Date: Wed Mar 21 2001 - 04:04:45 EST

-----Original Message-----
From: owner-ope-l@galaxy.csuchico.edu
[mailto:owner-ope-l@galaxy.csuchico.edu]On Behalf Of Steve Keen
Sent: 20 March 2001 20:04
To: ope-l@galaxy.csuchico.edu
Subject: [OPE-L:5218] Re: [Mike W] Re: use-value as quantitative

Steve asks,

> 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?

Indeed I do think that she would be more inclined to accept my
interpretation, or at the very least to say that purely on the grounds of
linguisitics and the text taken in isolation she couldn't adjudicate between
them. Why does Steve ask - it is fairly clear what I am arguing, and I am
not sure what role this hypothetical linguistician is playing here? As a
matter of emphasis I did not 'categorically dismiss' Steve's interpretation.
Rather I provided a counter interprpetation, and opined that in my few the
relevant text could not support Steve's view.

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.)

Dr Michael Williams
Business & Management Studies
De Montfort University
MK41 9EA
01234 793036

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