[OPE-L:8286] abstract labour: its measure

From: Christopher Arthur (cjarthur@waitrose.com)
Date: Mon Jan 06 2003 - 17:43:40 EST

ME "The first step is to learn to see that the measure of abstract use or
> abstract labour as it is practically brought about by universal commodity
> exchange is not time, but money itself, which mediates commodity exchange.
> That is, the measure itself is brought about by the abstract social
> relation."

The possibility of commensuration is brought about through the social
relation but  the measure itself is not identical with this mediation.
To say the measure of abstract labour is money is surely a category mistake
since money is a thing and labour an activity. The only way of closing the
gap is to assume abstract labour is identical with  embodied labour and
embodied labour identical with value. Then one can derive, working
forwards, that the measure of V is LT or, working backwards, that the
measure of AL is money. Both equally fallacious. To say M maesures L
involves the further category mistake of conflating living/reified L with
concrete/abstract L.
This mistake probably arises from interpreting ch 1 as simple commodity
production such that only in exchange does labour become abstract while in
production it remains concrete. However once production is located as
capitalist production i.e as value in process, then the same labour
activity is concrete as UV productive and abstract as V productive. (K as
an abstract totality exploits L as an abstract totality) Abstracting from
concrete labour leaves pure motion whose measure is time (see previous mail
for why time is of the essence). When this becoming of value is transformed
into being then the measure changes of course even if there is some
Another reason for confusion may arise from the formdeterminaton of
production by valorisation. With the transformation, the value-
productivity of labour time is redetermined such that each specific labour
'counts' diferently. But the unit of the count is still time albeit that
some times are more equal than others.
Compare: the same mass weighs differently on the earth and the moon but its
dimension is unchanged. Under stipulated conditions the unit mass turns
into the unit weight, just as under stipulated conditions (average org
compos) the unit LT turns into the unit V.
Chris A

17 Bristol Road, Brighton, BN2 1AP, England

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Wed Jan 08 2003 - 00:00:00 EST