[OPE-L:8228] electronics and value

From: gerald_a_levy (gerald_a_levy@msn.com)
Date: Sun Dec 22 2002 - 10:53:59 EST

A short paper --

"The Shape of History:  Historical 
Materialism, Electronics and Value"

published  online by the Institute for the Study of the 
Science of Society:

(This appears to be a condensed version of a paper entitled
"The End of Value" by Jim Davis which was 
presented at the 2000 'Rethinking Marxism' conference in 
Amherst, Mass.: http://scienceofsociety.org/discuss/eov.html  ).

The last section in the above article called "Value in the age 
of robots"  has several paragraphs on *the "many ways" 
that value is destroyed*.  

Some of the many ways, it is asserted, include:

*  the use-value of labor-power is destroyed.

*  electronics-based production leads to a situation 
   "where fewer people have the money to buy 
   commodities".  I.e.  commodity values aren't realized.

*  "when a new product made by robots appears 
    alongside the same product made with labor, the 
    value in the old products is driven down to the level 
    of the robot-made product -- its value is destroyed".

*  "As new labor-less forms of production become more 
    widespread, the social infrastructure that was built 
    to sustain industrial production is also destroyed as 
    social investment is pulled out of the communities of 
   former workers".

-- Do others agree that the instances cited are cases  where 
    value has been 'destroyed'?   

-- Are the authors  confused, e.g. are they confusing a change 
   in the distribution of value with the destruction of value?

--  Are the above assertions supported or contradicted by the 
    empirical evidence?

--  What are the legitimate senses in which we can refer to the
    destruction of value?

A  *conclusion* of the article is:

"With the spread of electronics-based production,  social 
organization on the basis of value -- the  participation of human 
beings in production --  begins to disintegrate.  Electronics lay 
the basis for the destruction of the value system".

This vision of the future is visualized in the "Before electronics/
After electronics" graphic at the "Science of Society" (not to be 
confused  with the _Science & Society_) website:  

-- Do you agree or disagree with this conclusion? Why?

In solidarity, Jerry

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