Re: [OPE-L] The value of labour-power

From: Philip Dunn (hyl0morph@YAHOO.CO.UK)
Date: Sat Jun 10 2006 - 20:13:13 EDT

Hi Rakesh

You asked: Should we thus not think of it as commodity proper?

I was suggesting only that it not be thought of as a capitalistically
produced commodity. I would change the language used and talk about the
producer commodity and its labour-power. Its labour-power is to be
understood as its potential for labour activity. On the identity theory,
this labour activity is identical to value creating activity.

Marx's treatment of "the value of labour-power" always seemed a bit
hesitant to me. It reliance on the reproduction of the worker just seems

So, I am putting the identity theory up for discussion.

On Fri, 2006-06-09 at 17:16 -0700, Rakesh Bhandari wrote:
> Phil,
> I don't find this persuasive but Torrance suggests that we think
> of labor power as qualitatively similar to conscience or honor in the
> following
> analysis.
> Marx writes: "The price-form, however, is not only compatible with the
> possibility of a quantitative incongruity between magnitude of value
> and price, i.e., between the former and its expression in money, but
> it may also conceal a qualitative inconsistency, so much so, that,
> although money is nothing but the value-form of commodities, price
> ceases altogether to express value. Objects that in themselves are no
> commodities, such as conscience, honour, &c., are capable of being
> offered for sale by their holders, and of thus acquiring, through
> their price, the form of commodities."
> For Torrance, labor power is not in itself a commodity, but the mode
> of expression of commodity value, viz. price, achieves partial
> autonomy and can be applied to non commodities as well.
> Of course since labor power remains 'attached' to its owner
> after it has been 'alienated' for a pottage and even as this
> birthright is
> being used does suggest that labor power does indeed  have only the
> form of a commodity.
> Should we thus not think of it as commodity proper?
> Rakesh
> > This has been touched on in the current discussions.
> >
> > Is the value of labour-power to be understood as embodied labour?
> > Clearly, the commodities consumed by workers possess embodied
> > labour. Is
> > the value of labour-power to be understood as non-intrinsic, as the
> > value of something else, namely that of the commodities consumed? If
> > labour-power possesses intrinsic, embodied labour value does this
> > value
> > transfer to the commodity produced? Or is it destroyed at the moment
> > of
> > production?
> >
> > Enough questions, some assertions.
> >
> > Embodied labour value is intrinsic value but intrinsic value need
> > not be
> > embodied labour. The intrinsic value of the produced commodity is
> > its
> > embodied labour. The intrinsic value of the producer commodity is
> > its
> > labour-power. This is the identity theory of labour and value.
> > Wherever
> > there is labour there is also value. Embodied labour is one moment
> > of
> > labour, labour-power is another. Embodied labour value is different
> > from
> > labour-power value since embodied labour is different from
> > labour-power.
> > Both are different from money labour value. Money is purchasing
> > power.
> > Its intrinsic value is its power of command over labour.
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
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