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

From: ajit sinha (sinha_a99@YAHOO.COM)
Date: Mon Mar 05 2007 - 14:12:36 EST

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

> Hi, Ajit,
> You wrote:
> > 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"!
> иии
>  Which
> > is the connection you
> > make? May be that a commodity is sold for $100
> > because its price is $100?
> Of course! Cheers, ajit sinha
> ______________________
> I am not blessed at all. Moreover, I am myopic.
> However, on the subject of
> theories of value, I can distinguish between clarity
> and obscurity. So I see
> a group of people that are in search of clarity and
> at least three groups in
> search of obscurity.
> People who like clarity tend to think in this
> manner. If I enter a
> restaurant's kitchen and see a set of physical
> things and relationships
> between, say, eggs, oil, a pan, a cooker..., etc.,
> but no people cooking,
> and check that in these circumstances no omelette is
> being created from the
> mere existence of eggs and all those things... If I
> repeat the same
> operation one million times and no omelette can
> ever, ever be seen. If I see
> later for the first time a person cooking the eggs
> and then it happens that
> an omelette does appear..., then I tend to deduce
> from all this that this
> person's work is the active explanation of the
> existence of the omelette. I
> would tend to think that this person's labour may
> have something to do with
> the price of the omelettes being actually sold in
> the restaurant's market.
> Now, if I see once and again the same phenomenon in
> all firms--I mean
> absolutely all firms--no matter how important and
> valuable are the physical
> things that stand still each one in front of the
> others when no labour is
> being made, and see that always-always--happens the
> same thing,
This is trivial, isn't it? Who has ever denied that in
most of the cases (sometimes you can find use values
as spontaneous product of nature--as a matter of fact
a great many important use values such as air you
breathe) labor is an element in production process.
All economics, including neoclassical economics assume
100% of times that labor is an essential element in
the production process. So what are you trying to say
 I can deduce
> that the use value and therefore the value of things
> created when labour
> does intervene may be related with labour itself.
If you are deducing as one deduces in logic, then
there shouldn't be any 'may be' in your statement.
More importantly, it is not at all clear what you mean
by when labor intervenes then it is related with labor
itself. I think there is a problem with English here,
so nothing is getting deduced. And from use-value to
value is a long jump and from value to prices is a
much longer jump.
> Then I begin to think that
> the labour theory of value is a reasonable theory,
> so that the price of the
> product of all those processes might be explained in
> terms of those labour
> processes.
Now that's the problem. There is no basis for you to
begin to think that. You have not provided any
argument yet. And as you would have noticed, you have
moved away from the fundamental questions about your
quantitative claims regarding labor values and money
> People who like obscurity tend to think differently.
> 1. For instance, they belong to the species that
> having never seen anybody
> cooking an egg from one or more omelettes or seen an
> egg being created from
> an omelette without the intervention of labour
> either, say seriously that
> the price of the egg can be explained in terms of
> omelettes on the same
> basis as others say that it can be explained in
> terms of labour, and this
> usually arguing that the case for this is just that
> they are able to do some
> beautiful calculations beginning from omelettes and
> eggs. And when you reply
> that, even if it is possible to say that other
> things enter directly OR
> indirectly in the production of all commodities, the
> truth is that labour is
> the ONLY ONE that enters directly AND indirectly in
> the production of all
> commodities, they don't know what to say but still
> think they are right, and
> then I begin to think that this theory is not
> reasonable at all.
I'm beginning to think that you have no idea what you
are talking about. This is utter nonsense!
> 2. Other people who like obscurity tend to think in
> another similarly
> unreasonable way. They know that the LTV says that
> the only fact lying
> behind all commodities (either goods or services) in
> absolutely all cases is
> labour--and it is labour in a quantity than can be
> determined and measured
> in hours--and then reply that commodities have
> another properties in common,
> utility for example, but they don't ever say in what
> terms this property can
> be quantified. After this, they say that their
> _utility_ theory is as
> reasonable as the LTV, and I observe this behaviour
> and conclude this theory
> is not a serious alternative to the LTV either.
Did you notice, when I probed you about how you
quantify your labor values? Your response to my quries
has reduced to this! Think about it.
> 3. And finally if I see people who say that prices
> are simply what they are
> and don't need to be explained., because. if they
> have some precise
> magnitude, they have that magnitude because they
> have that magnitude, then I
> can see that they have no reasonable theory. because
> they don't have any
> theory at all.
Now, who are they supposed to be?
> Therefore, as I observe that there are no
> alternatives to the LTV, I am
> happy to have at least one theory that tries to
> approach reality, and I tend
> to favour its hypothesis on these bases and defend
> it versus the theories
> and not-theories of others who don't seek for
> clarity or propose serious
> alternatives.
No. I think you need to get a grisp of LTV first and
then read those against whom you are trying to defend
the LTV. If anybody showing lack of clarity here, it's
you. Cheers, ajit sinha

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