[OPE-L:5308] Re: how is SNLT measured?

From: Geert REUTEN (reuten@fee.uva.nl)
Date: Sun Apr 01 2001 - 14:47:19 EDT

Re 5296 and other posts on measurement of SNLT

Of course views on `method' necessarily come in when discussing these
issues. I would like to make two points.
(1) Hours of labour (re: stop watch measures) may be usefull in some
socialist society (pre-communist), but it is not the measure in capitalist
society. The capitalist measure is money and the money rate of profit. Of
course labour-time acts as a constraint. Why just neglect the duality (key
for Marx) and reduce to one pole?
(2) At least in my view of the architectonic of Marx's Capital we cannot
directly apply the abstract beginning (V-1, ch 1 -- and much beyond that)
empirically. We have a gradual development of categories (throughout the 3
volumes) towards categories that could be applied empirically at all. Much
work to do!

On page 135 of V-1 (Fowkes transl) Marx writes: "In the interest of
SIMPLIFICATION, we shall henceforth view every form [=kind] of labour-power
directly as simple labour-power ..."
In connection see footnote 15 on the same page: "At this stage of our
presentation, the category of wages does not exist at all." (!)
It seems to me that before a concept of SNLT could be applied at all, we
need the categories beyond this simplification.
Emprical reality is complex, and the categories of V-1 do not match with it
Much of the history of Marxian theory can be characterised as `impatience'.
First impatience with Marx (eager to directly apply abstract notions). Next
lack of patience to  develop the categories beyond the point reached by Marx.

Geert Reuten

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