Re: [OPE-L] salto mortale

From: Paul Cockshott (wpc@DCS.GLA.AC.UK)
Date: Sat Mar 03 2007 - 16:06:45 EST

Much of this comes down to terminology. You use the word value
to designate what I would term exchange value. I agree with you
that species other than us have to observe an economy of time,
but that would not be enough to make value an appropriate category.
I would define value as abstract socially necessary labour time,
and as such it will only be appropriate when investigating species
that have a co-operative mode of life.

There is certainly no point in struggling against 'value'. There
is however a reason to struggle against exploitation, and that, I would
argue requires a replacement of exchange value with 
a) allocation to the producers on an equivalent basis for work done
b) restriction on the operation of exchange value and money in
   order to prevent the re-emergence of capitalist exploitation.

Paul Cockshott

-----Original Message-----
From: OPE-L on behalf of Jerry Levy
Sent: Sat 3/3/2007 7:03 PM
Subject: Re: [OPE-L] salto mortale
Paul C wrote:
> In socialist society gold will remain more valuable than copper or lead.
> Society may be able to afford to roof halls with copper, but not gold.

Paul and Allin:

Look before you leap.

I asked about  *value*  not what is deemed to be  *valuable*.

I agree that one product in socialist society could be considered
to be more valuable than another product.  I disagree that this
by itself represents the social relations associated with value.

It would also be the case in advanced socialist societies that
one product could be deemed to be more valuable than some
other products.  So too under communism!

Now that we have looked into the future, let's look backwards
into our past.  In every human society throughout history, labor
has been allocated to produce different goods for which those
societies associate different 'value', i.e. they consider that one product
is preferred or more necessary than other products and hence
are deemed to be more valuable.  So too when people lived in caves!
For instance, they might find a deer to be more valuable than a
rabbit or strawberries to be more valuable than edible weeds.

If then we are to call this valuation 'value' then we arrive at the
conclusion that value has always existed in human history and
always will!

But, wait, it doesn't stop there.  Many other species spend
time engaging in harvesting (a form of production) and often eat
more than one type of food.  Yet, for those species that can eat
more than one type of food,  it is well known that different
species tend to prefer some types of food over others.  For
instance, a lion could eat an antelope or a field rat, etc.  Even a
lion has to decide which prey to chase and kill and in so doing
decides to allocate work effort and time on one endeavor or
another.  This does not require that these species understand
'concepts'  such as work or time.  These species could then be
said to find one type of food to be more 'valuable' than other
types of food.

If then we call this valuation 'value' then we arrive at the
conclusion that value is natural and eternal!  A corollary to
this is that struggle against the value system is futile.

In solidarity, Jerry

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