Re: [OPE-L] Why aren't non-labourers sources of value? creativity

From: Ian Hunt (Ian.Hunt@FLINDERS.EDU.AU)
Date: Wed Apr 13 2005 - 23:51:22 EDT

Dear Rakesh,
I think you have not understood my point- sorry for not expressing it
clearly. I agree there is conflict between slaves/serfs and their
masters. I agree that in slave commodity production, surplus value is
produced. Labour time also plays a role. However, the drive for
relative surplus value present in capitalism, with a salient role for
labour displacing technical change, would not be part of the dynamic
of slave commodity production. Capital in this form can afford to be
technically lazy, since necessary labour time is set at the master's
command, not through competition between labourers in the market
place. Obviously, I did not mean for you to extrapolate from my words
that there is a more fundamental difference between industrial
capitalism and others forms of capitalism based on slavery, merchant
or financial capital than the above.

>At 11:47 AM +1030 4/14/05, Ian Hunt wrote:
>>If  can chip in here too. It is not clear that in total
>>mechanization, labour time would retain its significance: as Chris
>>suggests, the issue is that of a conflict of interest between
>>labourer and capitalist, when both have a formally equal social
>>standing. Machines, no matter how ingenious or creative, would have
>>no interests in potential conflict with capital unless they had lives
>>of their own and consciously pursued their own interest in those
>>lives. If they did and had formally equal social standing, then the
>>social relations of capital would have a place. On the other hand, if
>>they were persons but lacked equal social standing, we would have
>>slave or feudal commodity production: labour time no doubt would play
>>a role here but not the same as under capitalism.
>I don't understand this--there is no conflict between slaves/serfs
>and masters? Why is equal standing necessary for there to be a
>conflict of interest? Why must there be a conflict of interest among
>people of equal (juridical?) standing for surplus value to be
>produced, and to be the aim of production. Certainly surplus value
>can be produced even if people do have equal juridical standing, but
>this does not prove that they must for it to be produced.

Associate Professor Ian Hunt,
Head, Dept  of Philosophy, School of Humanities,
Director, Centre for Applied Philosophy,
Flinders University of SA,
Humanities Building,
Bedford Park, SA, 5042,
Ph: (08) 8201 2054 Fax: (08) 8201 2784

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