Re: value, labour and conservation laws

From: Paul Cockshott (wpc@DCS.GLA.AC.UK)
Date: Thu May 22 2003 - 05:12:59 EDT

Ian Wright wrote:

>   However, I think you are onto
> something important when you emphasise that "abstract labour"
> isn't a pure abstraction, as perhaps some value-form theorists
> may claim, but in fact has "substance", i.e. has a material,
> not just abstract, ontological status. I agree, but would put
> the matter slightly differently: "abstract labour" is a
> representation within capitalism that refers to the common
> properties of "concrete labour", and there are systematic
> causal relationships between the two.

I would generally agree with this presentation.
But would add that a key factor of human labour is its
flexibility we are 'RUR', we are the universal robot,
the universal worker. What gives abstract labour
a reality is this human adapability. This is why the
labour of horses or cattle, useful though they have
been to farmers and teamsters, can not be treated
as abstract except in the abstract sense of horse-power.

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Paul Cockshott
Dept Computing Science
University of Glasgow

0141 330 3125

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