[OPE-L:6963] Re: Re: value-form

From: nicola taylor (n.taylor@student.murdoch.edu.au)
Date: Wed Apr 10 2002 - 22:56:16 EDT

Response to Chris [OPE-L 6954]:

On 'dimension' and 'magnitude'

>They are  subtly different. In any case I object to the phrase(s) 'Value is
>the necessary dimension/magnitude of labour' (not of course to 'Value is
>the necessary dimension of commodities').
>By dimension I understand something like space and time within which things
>capable of subsisting in that dimension gain an attribute: 'extension',
>'duration', 'price'. All these take magnitudes hence the objects have
>suitable measures. The magnitude of value is measured by reference to
>whatever money obtains. Labour is a determinant of the magnitude of value,
>but is not itself a value, nor does it take value-form (unlike
>labour-power). This is why I cannot see it having the dimensionality of

Okay, I see now what you are getting at.  I don't think there is any
disagreement between us on the meanings of 'dimension' and 'magnitude';
rather, you are saying that in discussing magnitude I have not been
sufficiently carefully in differentiating between: 1) labour and
labour-power, and 2) between the source and the measure of value.  Right? 

>Of course it is not labour per se that is determinant; valorisation
>form-determines production of value so that the dimension of abstract
>labour is formed and its metric is time. Magnitudes of value are
>proportional to SNLT at a V1 level. I would accept the proposition 'The
>value dimension is a necessary presupposition of the abstract labour

I agree that in V1 'magnitudes of value are proportional to SNLT', which
implies that abstract labour can be measured in time units, at least in
principle.  Nevertheless, the argument for money as the sole measure of
value (in R&W) seems to me quite independent of whether an 'immanent
measure' of abstract labour (in time units) can be arrived at
theoretically.  What they question is the relevance of such a measure,
given that SNLT can be verified as socially necessary *only* by virtue of
the fact that it has assumed a monetary (social) form, a transformation
that mucks up the gravitational field (as you rightly say below).  But you
seem to object to this with the argument that labour cannot be determined
as valuable (or the source of value) through a monetary comparison of
inputs and outputs, alone. What is required is a concept of value form, and
a theory of how it is determining of the classical 'formulas'.  I agree
with you, and I feel confident that R&W agree also.  The question is: *how*
does an immanent time measure of SNLT help in this endeavour?  How do you
show that labour time is valuable, if in fact money is the only social
measure of how valuable (or socially necessary) labour time is?     

>Conversely, for the value dimension to have a regular metric it
>must be posited as mapping onto the abstract labour dimension. And with V3,
>many capitals 'wrinkle' this value space, just as the uneven density of the
>moon mucks up its gravitational field. Finally, Geert pointed out somewhere
>that measure is stretchable over functional relations (eg. the way we
>measure temperature and pressure, which as molecular phenomena are
>difficult to 'get at' directly), so one could 'measure' amounts of labour
>in terms of the value of the output; but that still does not mean labour is
>valuable, any more than temperature is extended. (Moreover, if we have the
>physics right our measures of pressure etc are reliable, but labour/value
>is a social relation of representation which could well often misrepresent.)
>PS I have not rechecked your references but I recall Geert recently made a
>big thing of the distinction between source (labour) and measure (money) of
>value; so maybe he has changed his mind.


Nicola Taylor
Faculty of Economics
Murdoch University
South Street
W.A. 6150

Tel. 61 8 9385 1130 
email: n.taylor@stu.murdoch.edu.au

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