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

From: Paul Cockshott (wpc@DCS.GLA.AC.UK)
Date: Thu Jun 15 2006 - 04:12:12 EDT


> I now think I understand what you are actually doing. You are
> calculating how many hours a worker has to work to buy a ton
> of corn. This is similar to Smiths 'Labour Commanded' view of
> value, which was criticised by Ricardo and Marx followed
> Ricardo on this.

In simple commodity production prices are proportional to
labour-values and labour-embodied equals labour-commanded. A dynamic
analysis of simple commodity production reveals that it is the
out-of-equilibrium mismatches between labour-embodied and
labour-commanded that are an essential causal link in the operation of
the law of value. That these two measures are identical in equilibrium
does not imply a rejection of a labour theory of value. Similarly for
the equilibrium of simple reproduction. Although I am no expert on
this, I believe Ricardo criticised Smith for not adhering to a labour
theory of value.

The point is that Smith had an ambiguity between defining the value
of corn as the labour required to produce corn or the labour commanded
by corn. If there is no 'profit of stock' then the two are the same,
but clearly in an economy with capitalist exploitation they differ.
Ricardo and marx held firm to the view that labour contained rather
than labour commanded was the appropriate definition.

Your numerical corn economy examples give a number for the value
of corn that is the same as smiths labour commanded. Labour commanded
tells you how long a worker has to work to buy a ton of corn with
their wages. I am not sure if your method gives Smiths labour commanded
in more complex cases.

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