From: Paul Cockshott (wpc@DCS.GLA.AC.UK)
Date: Tue Apr 12 2005 - 08:12:51 EDT
I responded to this in the latter part of my post. Value is a theoretical object. We can construct definitions of value as theoretical objects as we wish. If these definitions are not the same, then clearly we have different theoretical objects. Robot value and human labour value would be different theoretical concepts. But to establish the notion of robot value as a theoretical object you have to construct it. You have to say how you would assign robot value to a produced commodity in a situation where there were a plethora of automatic machines involved in production. These would be of very varied types: self flying aircraft, automated trains, one armed Unimate type robots, Asimov type android robots etc. Whose hours count in the formation of your value concept? That is why the first step in discussing this has to be to establish that you actually do have a theoretical object : robot value. If you don't have this as a well defined concept there is nothing to discuss. Having established a theoretical object, there is then the question of whether this theoretical object explains the behaviour of what we observe in the price system. It can be shown for example that labour value does have relatively good explanatory powers, whereas 'energy value' has a much poorer explanatory power. If you can define 'robot value' then you should be able to propose tests to see if robot value is an effective predictor of prices. -----Original Message----- From: OPE-L [mailto:OPE-L@SUS.CSUCHICO.EDU] On Behalf Of Ian Wright Sent: 11 April 2005 21:37 To: OPE-L@SUS.CSUCHICO.EDU Subject: Re: [OPE-L] Why aren't non-labourers sources of value? > 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.
This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Thu Apr 14 2005 - 00:00:01 EDT