From: Ian Wright (iwright@GMAIL.COM)
Date: Mon Apr 11 2005 - 16:37:20 EDT
> The issue of who produces value is at the one level definitional. > > Marx defines value as abstract social human labour time. One could > alternatively > define it in some way to include the labour of robots. We as theorists may be able to define value how we like, but the question I am interested in is what money objectively measures/controls, irrespective of what we may think. A thermostat objectively controls the temperature of a room and has internal representations that both represent the ambient temperature and represent the absence of an ambient temperature (the desired temperature setting). We cannot arbitrarily say that the position of a bi-metallic strip in a thermostat represents, say, the number of people in the room. Capitalism is also a kind of control system, implemented in the actions of people, that has its own representation, that is value, with its own semantics. So the issue of who or what produces surplus-value cannot be definitional: there are right or wrong, true or false answers to the question, depending on what the capitalist system in reality does. Marx defines value as abstract social labour-time, but as far as I understand it he tries to give theoretical reasons why value necessarily must be that, and nothing else. He didn't just say it was a useful working definition, which we'll be happy with if it gives decent predictions. -Ian.
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