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

From: ajit sinha (sinha_a99@YAHOO.COM)
Date: Sat Apr 16 2005 - 03:01:34 EDT

I have not been able to follow this thread but since
it appears to be related to my discussion with Andrew
on the Standard commodity, I'm tempted to put my two
cents again. The question appears to be intriguing but
at the same time a symptom of the misunderstanding of
the whole issue by present day Marxist value

To be able to ask this question, "Why aren't
non-labourers sources of value?", one needs to know or
have an agreement on "what is value"? Now the present
day Marxist value theorists, leaving aside their
differences about how to measure value, claim that
"value" is a definitional category, i.e., it is simply
defined as "abstract socially necessary labor time"
represented by A commodity, where "abstract" and
"socially necessary labor" are measured in one way or
the other. Thus in this case, the question is
meaningless, since value is simply defined as
labor-time and nothing else. The concept may be
meaningful or meaningless depending upon its position
in a coherent theoretical structure that explains some
phenomenon or phenomena. Thus in this context, what
needs to be done is to show how this definitional
category helps in explaining certain phenomena—a line
of inquiry that “the defense of the Marxist value
theory” has failed to take.

Now, the question presupposes that "value" is some
sort of an objective entity that has a source or a
cause. In this case it is paramount to establish what
this objective entity is. However, instead of doing
that the discussions invariably reverts back to what
is the correct definition of value, which turns the
question meaningless in the first place. Hence the
unending discussion and all the confusion! Cheers,
ajit sinha

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