Re: [OPE-L] A startling quotation from Engels

From: paul bullock (paulbullock@EBMS-LTD.CO.UK)
Date: Tue Aug 21 2007 - 12:00:04 EDT


Certainly you can 'watch'    ;-)   the time of your labour directly, but what is the social mechanism which would, through the process of  equationthe, identify the 'SNLT' if there is no exchange ( And I do not mean by exchange the planned allocation of the results of labour, I mean competitive exchange with profit in mind) ? We are discussing two different societies. with different mechanisms of reproduction. Certainly with capitalism all big corporations are keen to measure, internally, the total time of production, for bench marking processes, by which they try to anticipate the final cost of production, orthodox management accounting tries to do this. But all of that can easily be undermined by a sudden access to cheap labour, additional overwork etc etc by competitors when it comes to the competition in the marketplace. The social value of the product can only be established as a money amount through the markets, which absorb the full picture through innumerable calculations.

The 'private' measurement of time will have a different meaning for every private, separate, producer. Private time, the measure of individual, private action. With capitalism, it is the social process, the social recognition, the social validation of the usefulness of the product that 'values' the labour expended, not in its private own terms, but from the standpoint of the whole. This can only be done with quantities of money, price. This is how Marx showed how we could understand how society had  overcome the 'Ricardian' problem of the equation of  the labour of the differently skilled miner or the metal worker.

In a communist society the usefulness of labour, its employment will depend directly on the needs of the masses. Its employment will not depend on that particular use value that labour power presents to the capitalist, the production of surplus value. The market mechanism would not exist. Value as a social category will be superceded. The relative usefulness of labour will be recognised directly for its beneficial results, not the production of profit. Surplus labour time will be expressed not uniformly, but in its diversity of real output, all appreciated for its own sake, its contribution to the development of humanity beyond its 'pre-historical' stage.
There is a real problem in discussing the issue without ensuring that the full 'set' of linked concepts are  treated together, as capital, otherwise there is always the tendency to regress to single abstract general categories appropriate for many if not all sorts of societies.

Paul B
  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Paul Cockshott 
  Sent: Monday, August 20, 2007 1:03 PM
  Subject: Re: [OPE-L] A startling quotation from Engels

  Paul B 


  I am aware that you might say that because exchange-value does not arise, does not mean that the use values have no latent/hidden value. But that this value is no longer commonly measureable. In this case 'value' has no function, and the law of value no place. The wide range of concrete human labour will be appreciated for itself, variously, but no longer in the way that allows self interest to direct social life. 


   Paul C

  Why is value no longer measurable under these circumstances?

  Surely it is measurable but directly in time, rather than indirectly in money.

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