Re: [OPE-L] workers' consumption and capitalists' consumption

From: Allin Cottrell (cottrell@WFU.EDU)
Date: Tue Jun 06 2006 - 21:28:23 EDT

I responded to Ian's question,

>> "Where is the labour-time that was expended in previous rounds
>> on the production of capitalist consumption goods in Sraffian
>> labour-value accounting?"


>> It's in the labour-value of those consumption goods.

and Ian replies:

> Not in Sraffian labour-value accounting. This is a key point.

I'm not an expert on Sraffa, but I suspect we're talking at
cross-purposes here.  Do you mean to say that Sraffa holds that
all capitalist consumption goods (call them luxuries) have a
labour-value of zero?

My claim was that the labour embodied in luxuries is fully
accounted for in the value of those goods (which are final goods),
and does not "pass into" the value of any other goods.

Dammit, the capitalists ate them! -- how can they also pass into
the value of current output (on the model of a "machine" that
assists in the production of further output and is gradually used
up in the process)?

> The Sraffian labour value of any bundle of commodities, be it
> consumed by capitalists or not, does not count the indirect
> labour that went into the production of the capitalist
> consumption goods of previous rounds.

From a Ricardian perspective (I'd say Marx too, but it's less
ideologically charged to claim to speak for Ricardo!), that's
quite right: labour that went into production of luxuries in
previous rounds is _not_ "indirect labour" with respect to any
current output.

Allin Cottrell

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