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

From: ajit sinha (sinha_a99@YAHOO.COM)
Date: Mon Mar 05 2007 - 09:23:26 EST

--- Diego Guerrero <diego.guerrero@CPS.UCM.ES> wrote:

> Hi, Ajit,
> You said:
> > Let's say M = 500$ and C = 50 tons of iron. How is
> M =
> > C? What you want to say is, Pc. C = M, so you
> already
> > have introduced price of C. Similarly, when you
> say M'
> > = C' is nonsense. What you must mean is M' =
> Pc.C'.
> > Now it is also not clear whether your context is a
> > factory, an industry or the whole macroeconomy and
> > whether C and C' represent one good or several
> goods.
> > So please clarify your situation and then explain
> what
> > could you mean by "exchange of equivalents".
> ______________________
> This is basically the same question raised by Ian.
I don't know.
> What I say is that when you observe M - C .P. C' -
> M',
> meaning that a firm (or a national economy) expends
> $100 now and gets $150
> later,
> what really happens is that the firm or the economy
> is mobilizing, by means
> of a previously extracted mass of unpaid labour of
> 10, a mass of total
> labour of 15, due to the fact that for example
> workers work 12 hours and are
> reproduced themselves with commodities that are
> produced in only 7 hours.
Let's say you observed workers working for 12 hours.
But how do you know that the commodities they consume
to reproduce themselves took only 7 hours to produce?
You have to explain how you get this 7 hours. And then
you will have to prove how this 5 hours difference is
exactly equivalent to $50 difference. And thirdly, you
will have to prove how your statement remains valid
whether one is dealing with $50 difference at the
factory level or the national economy level. By just
saying, "what REALLY is happening" does not make an
argument. You could repeat "really" five times and the
statement would still remain as unconvincing.
> I am not using prices for _seeing_ this. I start
> from the universal
> observation in real capitalist economies that there
> are a strong
> relationship between real masses of labour spent in
> creating new commodities
> and real masses of money mobilized in markets by
> them.
Are you saying that you see a lot of people working in
factories and fields and you see a lot of money in
markets and from this universal observation you
conclude that labor sepends 12 hours in the factory
and receives comodities that have taken only 7 hours
to produce? How do you do that, and why rest of the
world is unable to do so? Or are you saying that you
see a lot of workers working in factories and fields
and you see a lot of money in the market, so you draw
the conclusion that labor and money must be somehow
related? But then I see a lot of useful things in the
market and I see a lot of money in the market, so why
can't I conclude that usefulness of things have direct
relationship with money?
Lots of examples of
> the same close quantitative relationships in
> different places and different
> moments, as shown by serious studies performed by
> many people, make me to
> conclude that prices' behaviour is explained by
> labour's behaviour (at least
> better that by any alternative theory I know).
You are not clear about what you mean here. Are you
talking about direct labor or direct and indirect
labor. These lots of serious studies don't measure
values as you seem to be doing, so I don't know how
could you invoke such studies to make your statement.
I have my opinion on these serious studies but there
is no need to go into that here. But these serious
studies are no help to you in the kind of debate we
are involved in.
> > No! I don't agree. Your number 3 above only says
> that
> > value is DEFINED as direct and indirect labor-time
> > spent in producing a commodity. Now, this
> everybody
> > knows. But how on earth you could conclude from
> here
> > that if a commodity is sold for $100, its value
> must
> > be 100 hours of labor? That's what beats me, and
> > that's what I want to know. Cheers, ajit sinha
> _________________________
> I look at real world and find this connection.
What kind of argument is that? Are you saying that we
are blind and you are blessed with exceptional eye
sight? Actually, Marx was quite proude to proclaim
that what he had found couldn't be found by just
"looking at the real world"!
> is the connection you
> make? May be that a commodity is sold for $100
> because its price is $100?
Of course! Cheers, ajit sinha

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