Re: [OPE-L] Question

From: Howard Engelskirchen (howarde@TWCNY.RR.COM)
Date: Wed Apr 11 2007 - 12:29:12 EDT

Hi Allin and Paul,

Sorry I was not able to reply sooner; the conversation has now run past
these comments.  But briefly,

Allin, I now understand the point of your comments from your other posts of
4/9 and I agree with the analysis -- there is waste that is necessary and
goes into the calculation of what is socially necessary.  The value of each
dinner served embodies, if you like, an appropriate portion of the dinners
thrown out.

There's another side of the coin.  Where waste is unnecessary, it doesn't
create value and one simply uses more labor time than is socially necessary
and this puts the producer at a competitive disadvantage.  The same is true
where one producer causes harm to another.  What is interesting is that here
I think it can be shown that socially necessary labor time becomes the basis
for establishing who has to bear the harm.  If the entity  doing the harm
used socially necessary labor time in its activity, the harm is an accident
and the injured firm has to include such things in its costs of production
as necessary waste.  It is like dinners thrown out.  But if the entity doing
the harm did not use the socially necessary level of care, skill, attention,
etc., then the actor is responsible and must make good the damage.  There is
unnecessary waste and it is the one who fell below the standard of what is
socially necessary who must suffer the disadvantage.

On the point about need below, I'm not convinced.  You cannot make a
difficult problem go away by stipulation.  Yes it would be nice if we could
calculate need based on current levels of technology and I'm sure there are
monetary issues that complicate unnecessarily, but in the last analysis I
think you cannot remove the way class relations determine social need from
what counts as socially necessary labor time.


----- Original Message -----
From: "Allin Cottrell" <cottrell@WFU.EDU>
Sent: Monday, April 09, 2007 8:36 PM
Subject: Re: [OPE-L] Question

> On Tue, 10 Apr 2007, Paul Cockshott wrote:
> > This usage overloads the word 'need' or 'necessary' with two distinct
> > meanings:
> >
> > 1. necessary under current levels of technology
> >
> > 2. necessary to meet currently available market demand...
> Thanks, Paul.  This is very much the reply I intended to give to
> Howard's question, had I had time to do so.
> Allin.

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