Re: (OPE-L) is value labour?

From: Claus Magno (cmgermer@UFPR.BR)
Date: Tue May 06 2003 - 10:53:22 EDT

Marx divided his exposition on value into the 3 characteristics of it: substance, quantity and form. Since the substance of value is abstract labour, i.e., the expenditure of human productive effort irrespective of its concrete form, one can say that value *is* labour (in the abstract sense), whose quantity is given by the socially necessary time and whose form is the exchange value (= the value form), i.e., value expressed in a certain quantity of the general equivalent of value (or money = gold in the most developed - capitalist - form).

It seems to me though that there is a slight difference between saying that labour *creates* value or that value *is* labor. Labour *creates* value in the sense that it is human labour that, through the production of commodities, objectifies itself into them, in such a way that each commodity expresses human abstract labour in a certain quantity. In this case one is stressing labour as the activity. On the other hand, when one says that value *is* labour, one is speaking of a certain quantity of labour time already objectified into a commodity.

It also seems to me that there is a clear difference between saying that *value is labour* and *labour is value*. I have not read Mandel or Chris's paper on this, but I also think that, since labour is the activity or labour in process, whereas value is objectified labour, they are different. One can say that *value is labour*, but not that *labour is value*.


Claus Germer
Departamento de Economia
Curso de Mestrado e Doutorado em
Desenvolvimento Econômico
Universidade Federal do Paraná
Curitiba - Parana

Tel: 55 (41) 360-4402 - Universidade
       55 (41) 363-8950 - Res. (Home)
  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Paul Cockshott 
  Sent: Tuesday, May 06, 2003 11:06 AM
  Subject: Re: (OPE-L) is value labour?

  gerald_a_levy wrote: 
    Paul C wrote on 5/3: > If one considers that value is labour,  then the value of> money is unproblematic. And on 5/6, he wrote: > What I am saying is that if one takes value either to be 
    > labour, or even Smith's command over labour, then the 
    > notion of a decline in the value of money is well founded.
    Yet, value is no more labour then labour is labour-power.To say that labour (of a particular form) creates value isquite different from saying that value _is_ labour.
  I would say that value is labour, and that value becomes manifest 
  in commodity producing societies in the form of exchange 
    Also,to say that the magnitude of value is  determined bysocially-necessary-labor-time is different from saying thatvalue _is_ labour. [As far as Marx's take on this is concerned (happy b-day,btw), note that Chris A took the late Ernest Mandel to task forclaiming that "For Marx *labour is value*".
  I would agree with Mandel here. 
     Chris argues thatthis is "directly refuted by Marx's own text"  (Volume 1 of _Capital_)where M wrote that "labour is not itself value."   Chris goes onto claim that Mandel "overlooked the importance of the value*form*" ("Value Labour and Negativity" in _Capital & Class_,73, Spring 2001, p. 31).    What is unclear to me, though, iswhen Marx *first* expressed this proposition that labour is notvalue.  E.g. what did he write about this in the drafts of_Capital_?]
  I think that Marx was not 100% clear on the distinction between value 
  and exchange value at first. His clearest distinction between them 
  comes in Notes on Wagner. 
    > If one thinks that value is essentially something specific 
    > to exchange - rather than being founded on something 
    > prior to exchange - then the idea of a decline in the 
    > value of money is no longer well founded.
    If one believes that there is a unity of the process ofcapitalist production and circulation then value is somethingspecific to the nature of the commodity-form
  Why? this is a non-sequitur. How can ones belief about some 
  particularity of the capitalist mode of production - the unity of 
  production and circulation ( whatever that  means ), lead to 
  conclusions about other modes of production - namely that value 
  is absent from them. 
  One might as well say that because I believe that all 
  capitalist economies use coin , coins do not 
  exist in non-capitalist economies. 

Paul Cockshott
Dept Computing Science
University of Glasgow

0141 330 3125

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Thu May 08 2003 - 00:00:00 EDT