Re: value, labour and conservation laws

From: Andrew Brown (Andrew@LUBS.LEEDS.AC.UK)
Date: Wed May 21 2003 - 05:09:55 EDT

Hello Ian,

Thanks for your question.

> My question
> for Andy is: do you remain dissatisfied because you think that the
> ontological status of social labour remains unclear or undefined in
> Paul's presentation? If so, and assuming that for you its ontological
> status is in fact clear, would you measure abstract labour in a
> different manner to Paul? In other words, do these philosophical
> differences result in practical differences?

I actually do not understand Paul's exposition, I cannot attribute
any meaning to crucial aspects of it. There are no doubt many
reasons for this. One I haven't mentioned previously is our
respective philosophies of maths and in particular number. Paul
mentioned that something (I forget what) is 'purely quantitative'. I
don't think anything is or could be purely quantitative! But these are
massive issues and we can hardly resolve them in an email
exchange (which is what I was getting at in my previous post).
However, I would be delighted if, in fact, the problem is purely
expositional and if therefore Paul (or indeed yourself) could phrase
his argument in such a way as I could make sense of.

Practical differences? Well I am largely supportive of Ben Fine's
concrete research program, and corresponding interpretation of
Capital (an interpretation to which a specific interpretation of the
OCC/VCC/TCC distinctions is crucial). This is significantly different
from Paul's approach I think.  Another important area of difference
would be the question of socialism, I doubt that I agree with Paul's
take on this and suspect a facet of our disagreemnet would stem
from our differing approaches to value (not that I have ever looked at
this in any detail).

Regarding your summary of my position on value: this is a
reasonable summary -- and thanks for that -- though it does of
course beg crucial questions such as the nature of 'logic' and its
relation to matter, so I probably wouldn't have put it quite the same

Many thanks,


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