(OPE-L) is value labour?

From: gerald_a_levy (gerald_a_levy@MSN.COM)
Date: Sun May 11 2003 - 08:47:59 EDT

Howard wrote on  Sunday, May 11:

>   Suppose, for example, Jerry,
> that we say labor is "embodied," or "incorporated in" ("body" also at the
> root), or that we use any such other  words -- whatever the term, we are
> referring to activity required for production.  This gets measured by
> time.  There is nothing metaphorical about the expenditure of labor in
> producing
> something and nothing metaphorical about pointing at the aggregate of
> activities responsible for a quantity of production over time.

Agreed, but that was never in dispute.

> Though the
> material activities are no longer present as activity, or visible as such,
> they were physically present just as the line drive in the baseball game
> last night.  And even though they are no longer physically present as
> visible activities, we can still refer to them the way we refer to a book
> missing from the table.  They were material, we could see them, and they
> left traces in presently existing products such that those products are
> different physically from what they otherwise would have been.

Agreed again.  The labor performed to produce commodities is real
enough.  It existed. It  is part of an explanation for the value of the
commodity.  None of that requires that labor be viewed as being
"contained" within a commodity as "congealed" or "crystallized"  or
"dead" labor.

> The product  that presently exists is therefore a good sign of the
> activity that  produced  it.  There is nothing metaphorical here.

The metaphor is introduced when we go from saying that commodities
represent or express value to saying that "contained" within commodities
is "materialized", "congealed", "crystallized", and/or "dead" labor.  To
conceive of labor existing in "dead" form makes no sense whatsoever unless
it is interpreted metaphorically.  If we were to  interpret "dead labor"
metaphorically *nothing* of significance in Marx's theory of value would
be lost and conceptual clarity would be gained.

In solidarity, Jerry

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