Re: [OPE-L] Smith and Marx on the materialisation of labour

From: Gerald_A_Levy@MSN.COM
Date: Fri Sep 30 2005 - 16:36:46 EDT

>It is important to stress that value and exchange value were
> distinguished by Marx only later in his works, and this was a
> continuing struggle for Marx. <snip>
> Or don't you think the distinction is glossed in this sentence?

Hi Andy,

Thanks for the clarification.  I see your point now.

Do you see Diego's point, though, in his exchange with Paul C in terms
of why he was reminded of Marx's critique of Smith re the
materialization of labour?  Recall that Diego had challenged the idea
that commodities with diverse material characteristics could be
totaled without using (abstract) labour time  or money.  This, of
course, was intended as part of a critique of  the Sraffian physical
quantities approach.

I also think that Marx's critique of Smith on productive and
unproductive labour in Ch. 4, Section 4 of Volume 1 of _TSV_
can be used to ask a related question: within an input-
output context such as Paul C was using, how do we total the
production of _services_.  If steel can be measured in tons, how
-- for instance -- is the labour of singers measured without
money?  As so many songs?  Yet, there is no standard length
of time for singing a song, is there?

Do you see, further, how the same argument that Marx used about
not taking the materialization of labour too literally and corporally
can be extended to inquire into the meaning of whether commodities
"embody" or "contain"  SNLT or whether they represent SNLT?
Also,  we could extend that to think about whether some
interpretations of value in conceptualizing value as "congealed"
or "crystallized" labour time are also considering the materialization
of labour too literally and corporally?

In solidarity, Jerry

>           "The materialisation, etc., of labour is however not to be
>            taken in such a Scottish sense as Adam Smith conceives it.
>            When we speak of the commodity as a materialisation of
>            labour -- in the sense of its exchange-value -- this
>            itself is only an imaginary, that is to say, a purely
>            social mode of existence of the commodity which has
>            nothing to do with its corporeal reality;
>            it is conceived as a definite quantity of social labour or
>            of money."  (Progress ed. -- Emile Burns translation -- p.
>            171).

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