Re: (OPE-L) is value labour?

From: Paul Zarembka (zarembka@BUFFALO.EDU)
Date: Fri May 09 2003 - 09:55:34 EDT

On Thu, 8 May 2003, Claus Magno wrote:

> Paul Zarembka, May 07, 2003 6:17 PM:
> >
> > I find two phrases of your sentences contradictory: "the substance of
> value
> > is abstract labour, i.e., the expenditure of human productive effort
> > irrespective of its concrete form" compared to "value is objectified
> > labour".  Agreeing with the former, I don't understand how, then,
> > 'abstract labor' could be 'objectified labor'.
> Imo there is no contradiction. A commodity is the natural form of a certain
> kind of labour (concrete or useful) and a certain quantity of it
> (abstract) - use-value and value.


Abstract labor is precisely NOT materialized labor, the latter being the
process of making a specific use-value.  A commodity is not the 'natural
form' of value (indeed 'natural form' has Ricardian overtones), unless you
mean that form associated with generalized commodity production.

> Thus, each commodity is a particular form
> of value, i.e. as value it is the objectification of a certain amount of
> labour in the abstract.

Labor time, or a 'certain amount of labor in the abstract', or value is
not a physical property.  Looking at the computer monitor in front of me,
I observe not one atom of value, labor time, abstract labor.  (I believe I
could find the appropriate citation from Marx.)

> On the other hand, abstract labour, the substance of
> value, can be conceived both as the activity and the result.

Abstract labor is not an activity; labor is an activity.

> As an activity
> it creates value but is not value. It is value in the form of its result,
> which is the commodity. Thus, it seems to me that one can say that either
> the commodity or its value are objectified labour, because in its quality of
> value the commodity *is* labour.

I sense a empiricist problematique in your wording (but I'm not sure): a
commodity contains value inside itself (e.g., in the computer monitor)?

> In ch. 5 of Capital I Marx says that
> "definite quantities of product ... represent nothing but definite
> quantities of labour, definite masses of crystallized labour time. They are
> nothing more than the materialization of so many hours or so many days of
> social labour".

Note 'represent'.  And 'materialization' is not the hours themselves.


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