From: Ian Wright (wrighti@ACM.ORG)
Date: Mon Jun 12 2006 - 13:51:31 EDT
Hi Paul > Ian why do you think that capitalist consumption is productive > whereas that of workers is not? Could you define "productive"? Then I will try to answer your question as best I can. > Why not include workers consumption as well in your equation so > to get > 2 tons raw material + 4000 hrs of labor +4 tons workers consumption + 4 > tons capitalist consumption --> 10 t. of corn Because we are calculating real-costs in terms of labour-time. The labour-value of direct labour does not need to be reduced to the labour-value of its input goods, otherwise the process of vertical integration enters an infinite loop. This is a property shared by all formulae for calculating labour values, both the real-cost version and Sraffa's. But there's no reason to conclude in either case that workers consumption is not being treated as "productive". In real-cost accounting the equation for labour value is: 2v + 4v + 4000 = 10v to give v = 1000 hours (where v is labour-value of corn). In Sraffian accounting the equation for labour value is: 2v + 4000 = 10v to give v = 500 hours. In both cases we don't replace the 4000 hours with workers consumption. If we did then in the first case we get: 2v + 4v + 4v = 10v which balances, but is an empty tautology. And if we replace the 4000 hours in the Sraffian equation we get 2v + 4v = 10v which is a contradiction, a little sign of the labour-cost accounting error. However, as the corn-economy is so low-dimensional, and a well-known special case in which the transformation problem does not arise, then these examples can appear trivial and a "storm in a teacup" unless we have the n-commodity context of the accounting problem in mind. Best wishes, -Ian.
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