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

From: ajit sinha (sinha_a99@YAHOO.COM)
Date: Tue Mar 06 2007 - 06:20:26 EST

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

> Ajit:
>  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
> > here?
> > _____________________________
> You are distorting my words:
> I don't say that labour is an element in production
> process, but the ONLY
> active element. More precisely: without labour you
> don't have ANY _process_
> at all in the long run. But with labour you always
> have a production process
> no matter how difficult it can become. You will need
> time, of course. But
> without labour no passing of time will help you to
> get a production.
> And I repeat: 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--IN ADDITION TO
> indirectly--in the
> production of ALL commodities.
> That means that labour is different from other
> elements in production
> because it is the only thing directly present IN ALL
> production processes of
> commodities at the same time (including services).
Okay, let's say I say a commodity x is produced by 2
tons of steel, 5 tons of coal, and 8 hours of labor.
You say no! I'm distorting your words, and I should
have said that a commodity x is produced by 2 tons of
steel, 5 tons of coal and 8 hours of ACTIVE labor. So
I follow you and put "active" before labor in the
description of the production of all the commodities
x,y, z etc. How does it prove LTV? That is my

By the way, the way you are arguing might get you in
trouble with Marx. Marx was not making distinction
between labor-power and other means of production on
the basis that labor is the active element. If horse
is used in the production process, is the horse an
active element or not? The significance of labor in
the production process is basically use of mechanical
energy. Labor-power is stored (or potential) energy
which gets released in the production process in a
similar way as the energy of coal gets released when
it is burnt in the production process. There are good
quality works within Marxist literature that show how
capitalism has gradually tried to reduce laborer from
having any control over the process of production to a
mere cog in the machine. That is why it is within the
realm of imagination that the capitalist system could
become completely automated with advancement in
robotic technology. The tragedy of the situation is
that the only active element in the production process
is the guy who sets the speed of the assembly line and
gives order to the robots as well as the workers what
jobs need to be performed. If Marx distinguishes
labor, it is at the level of social relations of
production and not at the level of the physical
production process. But I have a feeling I'm wasting
time here, so we might as well stop this thread.
Cheers, ajit sina
> Do you want a proof? Please, don't go yet to your
> kitchen and don't cook:
> simply tell the physical elements you have in it to
> produce for you whatever
> you want, and let me see the results. Please feel
> free to tell them to use
> any element that can enter _indirectly_ in whatever
> you want they cook for
> you.
> Cheers,
> Diego

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