From: Ian Wright (wrighti@ACM.ORG)
Date: Thu Aug 09 2007 - 11:58:02 EDT
> Can you explain what you mean here In any system of measurement the standard unit is "irreducible" in the sense that its measure in standard units is by definition 1 unit of itself. E.g., The length of 1 metre is 1 metre. This property is independent of how the standard unit is conventionally defined (say in terms of the distance travelled by a photon in a given period of time). A definition of labour-value is a method to measure the "difficulty of production" of commodities in amounts of labour. We take a commodity and look at all its physical inputs plus direct labour input. The direct labour input contributes to its labour-value. We then look at the physical inputs and their indirect labour inputs. The indirect labour input also contributes to the labour-value. And we continue, "vertically integrating", until all physical costs are reduced to a single scalar measure of amounts of labour inputs. But in this process of vertical integration we do not further reduce direct labour to its physical inputs, namely the real wage, and then additionally count the indirect labour costs embodied in the real wage. Why? Because the standard unit is irreducible: 1 unit of direct labour by definition is 1 unit of labour-value. The question, "What is the labour-value of 1 unit of direct labour?", is equivalent to the question, "What is the length of 1 metre in metres?" The process of vertical integration stops at the point of reduction to quantities of labour supplied. It makes no sense to further reduce. This property of "irreducibility" holds for both the standard and nonstandard definitions of labour-value. It is a necessary property of any well-formed definition of labour-value. If we then interpret the series representation of these definitions in terms of a dated representation it entails that workers do not consume the real wage during the process of replacement.
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