Re: [OPE-L] questions on the interpretation of labour values

From: Jerry Levy (Gerald_A_Levy@MSN.COM)
Date: Thu Feb 22 2007 - 11:00:19 EST

I mean total values or direct prices = total produuction prices = total market prices. Of course, ground-rent, taxes, etc., amount to a new deviation from p to m, but the sum of these deviations has to be 0 because of all those elements are not but deductions from surplus value (= profit).

Hi Diego:

This would be true if all goods were commodities in the fullest
sense of the term.  But, for instance, there are objects which were 
never produced with the intention of being sold.  You might recall that
during the invasion of  Iraq  the major antiquities museum was looted.
Undoubtedly, the plunder was then priced and sold.  Is that plunder
to be treated merely as a deduction from surplus value?  When 
tigers are illegally killed in national forests and reserves in India and
then sold to customers in Tibet and China for ritual and 'medicinal'
purposes, is that to be treated merely as a deduction from s?  
Would that be the case even if the buyers weren't capitalists as
consumers or firms?  When Inuit sell whale meat at a modest
cost to fellow Inuit is that also to be considered a deduction from 
surplus value?  When, in today's economy,  individuals are taken by 
force and sold as sex slaves to private customers is that 
valuation in price also to be considered to be a deduction from surplus 
value even if the customer is a wage-worker? Are the items taken from 
the tomb of Tutantamen, to the extent that they some of those items 
came to be sold, to be treated as a deduction from surplus value?  If 
you were to walk along a beach in Madrid and find ambergris and then 
sell it to your neighbor, should that be considered to be a deduction 
from surplus value?  Is a black book painting made by a graffiti artist 
which was never intended for sale but was eventually thrown in the garbage 
and picked-up by someone else and sold to another artist or collector  to 
be considered a deduction from surplus value, regardless of the class 
membership of the buyer?  If  someone found a lock of my hair and sold it 
to a company specializing in genetic mapping and DNA research, 
should that also be considered to be a deduction from surplus value? 
(On a related note,  have you heard in Spain about Brittany Spears' shaving of 
her head?  Did you also hear that someone, not Brittany,  tried to put up her 
hair for sale on E-Bay?  The bidding reportedly went above $1 million before 
E-Bay took it off for sale because they claimed that its authenticity wasn't 
verified.  Had her hair, though, been sold should the monetary price associated 
with the sale have been treated merely as a deduction from surplus sale?)  Is 
the money paid for the posters made by an artists collective during the May-June, 
1968 revolt in Paris or by the Council for the defense of Madrid in 1937 which 
can be purchased now at art galleries in New York City and elsewhere to be 
considered to be a mere deduction from surplus value?  Is there any reason 
to suppose then when we look at the subject more concretely  that the sum
of all of the deviations has to be -0-?   One has to remember what were the 
assumptions embodied within the equalities suggested by Marx and the 
the level of abstraction appropriate for those equalities.

In solidarity, Jerry

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