[OPE-L:5299] Re: Re: Re: how is SNLT measured?

From: charlie (charles1848@value.net)
Date: Fri Mar 30 2001 - 11:44:14 EST

In reply to my question:
Before trying to measure the socially necessary labor time in
individual products and the jobs that make them, I'd ask why one
would attempt to use the theory of value this way.

Paul Cockshott replied:
I would suggest that we need to do it in a socialist economy if
we are to have any rational basis for comparing the efficiency
of different production techniques.

Yes, somebody in a capitalist or a socialist economy needs to
measure the labor time needed to produce things, but this does
not require the theory of value.
Incidentally, I found Paul Cockshott and Allin Cottrell's
writings on socialist planning helpful. They drove home a
refutation of the idea that socialist planning requires too much
detailed calculation. Since we are all feeling our way through
one objective history, we build on each other's ideas, and my
suggested outline of a labor republic reflects their work.

In reply to the same question above, Jerry Levy wrote:
That is similar to asking why we would want to
know what the rate of surplus value, the organic
composition of capital, the rate of profit, etc.
are in different nations.

My question was concerned with the problems of using the theory
of value to measure something (SNLT) in individual products. I
was merely cautioning against pursuit of a labor theory of

The theory of value is crucial for discovering the historical
limit of capitalism and similar overall facts about its workings
and tendencies. I merely suggest that we raise our sights and
look this way rather than toward calculating dimensions of
individual products and taking averages of them.

If the discussion in this thread is concentrating on
international issues, my essay on globalization might be of
interest. It is available at


Charles Andrews
Web site for my book on this subject is at

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