[OPE-L:5613] Re: is value (a form of) labor?

From: howard engelskirchen (lhengels@igc.org)
Date: Thu May 17 2001 - 22:18:09 EDT


re your 5599,

I would agree with the critique offered of the proposition that "labor is
value."  Labor itself is activity, living labor, and as such has no value,
though by being expended in the production of commodities it becomes value.
(But from the excerpt I wouldn't for myself draw broader conclusions about
whether or not Mandel understood the importance of the form of value to the
labor theory of value.) 

On the other hand given the proposition that value is a form of expended
labor, the notion that "value is labor," so understood, seems unproblematic.  



  At 09:44 PM 5/16/01 -0400, you wrote:
>>From Howard's [5594]:
>> To say that value exists only in exchange would
>> seem to obliterate a key
>> acquisition of Marx's analysis -- that value is in
>> fact a form of labor
>> whereby relations of producers in their reciprocal > activities are
>represented or become manifest as
>> relations of objects
>Hi Howard. It looks like you are enjoying
>OPE-L.  If so, great.
>Would you comment on the following short
>quote from Chris A's article "Value, Labour
>and Negativity" (_Capital & Class_, 73, p. 31)?
>"Ernest Mandel went so far as to say 'For Marx
>*labour is value*' (Mandel, 1990: 11) --
>emphasizing the point. Mandel is directly refuted
>by Marx's own text. Marx says that 'labour is
>not itself value'; although 'labour creates value'
>it 'becomes value' only in 'objective form' when
>the labour embodied in one commodity is equated
>with the labour embodied in another commodity
>(Marx, 1976a [Capital I, Penguin ed, JL]: 142).
>Moreover labour is socially validated thereby only
>as 'abstract', and this in turn requires the presence
>of the money commodity to ground the universal
>dimension required. In brief, Mandel overlooked
>the importance of the value *form* in the labour
>theory of value".
>In a footnote to the above, Chris notes that
>(Mino) Carchedi said something similar to
>Mandel. Carchedi: "Often one runs into
>expressions such as ... labour being 'the
>substance of value', etc....But... value is *not*
>created by (abstract) labour. Value *is*
>labour....' (Carchedi, 1991: 102)" {Ibid, footnote
>17, p. 37}
>In solidarity, Jerry

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