From: Andrew Brown (Andrew@lubs.leeds.ac.uk)
Date: Tue Apr 01 2003 - 08:23:26 EST
Hi, Your comments are in the spirit of my own argument. You suggest 2 other posible substances of value. (1) Energy. This is interesting. Of course 'energy' is a hotly disputed concept: despite its widespread use in physics, it is not well explained or grasped I suspect. I think explaining it is a task of materialist dialectics. The same remarks apply to SNLT, in fact. I suspect that such an explication of these two concepts would in fact rule out energy as such from being the substance of value. But I don't know enough to be sure. Isn't energy related to mass? In which case why doesn't the fact that mass is obviously not the scalar we are after, rule out energy as well? (2) The Sraffian standard commodity. I don't agree that this is a contender at all. As soon as a new commodity is produced then the standard commodity of the new economy is incommensurable with that of the old, isn't it? Thanks, Andy > > 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 argument. > > 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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