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

From: Andrew Brown (A.Brown@LUBS.LEEDS.AC.UK)
Date: Sun Oct 02 2005 - 08:24:16 EDT

Hi Jerry,
I don't have much to add to what I have said in previous exchanges on OPE-L (and am going away for a few days) on these matters.
I'd just re-iterate that it is vital to distinguish between 'embodiment' (Ricardo) and 'congealment' (Marx)
Many thanks

	-----Original Message----- 
	From: OPE-L on behalf of Gerald_A_Levy@MSN.COM 
	Sent: Fri 30/09/2005 21:36 
	Subject: Re: [OPE-L] Smith and Marx on the materialisation of labour

	>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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