[OPE-L:8697] Re: Re: Exchange

From: clyder@gn.apc.org
Date: Tue Apr 01 2003 - 04:46:56 EST

Quoting Andrew Brown <Andrew@lubs.leeds.ac.uk>:  
> Hi Michael,  
> re 8687:  
> Use   
> value is a necessary *condition* for system-wide exchange, but so   
> are many, many things (e.g. humanity, matter, conducive weather,   
> etc.): your point ii provides no argument that use value should be   
> privileged over any other condition, as far as I can see. The point is   
> that these conditions have all been entirely abstracted from in   
> exchange, so cannot explain exchange value. Only labour is left   
> (the quantity of SNLT is not entirely abstracted from in exchange   
> though proportionality obviously doesn't hold) and the labour that is   
> left is highly peculiar (defining the CMP at the most abstract level),   
> since all natural materiality has been drained from it.   
Whilst not wanting to detract from your general argument, with 
which I agree, I think that it may be worth bringing out another 
property of the underlying substance of value: that it must be 
a scalar quantity. As such use values, being distinct are obviously 
ruled out, but by itself this does not establish that labour is 
that scalar. 
In principle that scalar could be something else - for example 
the energy input required to make a commodity. The fact that 
energy input turns out to correlate relatively poorly with exchange 
value when compared to labour input is an empirical fact - 
not something we can establish at the level of a purely logical 
In principle one could also treat the Sraffian basic commodity 
as the scalar input that determines values - and there is a real 
and very subtle insight in Sraffas proposal here. 

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