Re: (OPE-L) Re: is value labour?

From: Paul Cockshott (wpc@DCS.GLA.AC.UK)
Date: Wed May 07 2003 - 08:40:19 EDT

gerald_a_levy wrote:

> Paul C wrote on May 06:  > I would say that value is labour, and that value becomes> manifest in commodity producing societies in the form of>
> exchange value. To begin with,  value isn't labour because labour is an activitywhich creates value.  Terminology such as "objectified labour"and
> labour in "crystalline" form seems to me to be fundamentallyconfused.  One should differentiate between the products oflabour and the activity of
> labour.

Ok, a product is different from the activity of producing it
but the value of a product is the integral of the number of
people who produced it over its time of production.

When I say value is labour, I am expressing a higher order
proposition of the form
 V = lambda x. L(x)
where L (x) is the labour required to make product x

In other words both value and labour in the statement are functions

> Perhaps Marx was influencedby references in the sciences to petrified trees, fossils,crystalization,  etc.  -- if so it was a poor application of
> conceptsfrom the natural sciences to the subject of political economy. Also,for the same reason, I think that the proposition that commoditiesare
> "containers" of value is misleading -- commodities _represent_value rather than "contain"  value. Additionally, I think the proposition that value
> is labouris mistaken because it fails to differentiate among the_ forms_ thatlabour can take: only labour of a quite specific form
> (socially-necessary-labor) can _create_ value.

I agree that it is shorthand, I should have said value is socially necessary labour

> Further, if value is labour, then what is 'not-value'? > If one believes that there is a unity of the process of> capitalist production and
> circulation then value is something> specific 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.

> I explained what I meant in the following two sentences from myprevious post -- one indeed begins "In other words". My point did not fundamentally
> concern whether there is or isnot value in non-capitalist modes of production -- rather I wastrying to explain how the issue isn't "whether one
> thinks thatvalue is essentially something specific to exchange", butrather how value in bourgeois society requires the presenceof specific processes
> of production and circulation and thatan analysis of the subject matter reveals the necessaryand systematic connections between these processes.If
> we are committed ontologically to drawing out theseconnections then we see that value is "something specific"to the nature of the commodity produced
> in bourgeois societyand hence we can observe that value _is_ something specificto a particular _form_ of  (capitalist) production _and_circulation
> (and hence exchange). In solidarity, Jerry

Eyes in vertebrates are systematically connected to the primary
visual cortex and cannot function without it. Thus it is clear
eyes are specific and particular form of development of the
vertebrate nervous system, and in consequence - appearances
to the contrary, molluscs are eyeless.

Paul Cockshott
Dept Computing Science
University of Glasgow

0141 330 3125

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