Re: [OPE-L] Reclaiming Marx's "Capital": book launch talks, reviews, media coverage

From: Philip Dunn (hyl0morph@YAHOO.CO.UK)
Date: Sun Sep 02 2007 - 05:01:06 EDT

On Sat, 2007-09-01 at 15:52 -0700, ajit sinha wrote:
> --- Philip Dunn <hyl0morph@YAHOO.CO.UK> wrote:
> > Hi Ajit
> >
> > The 50-50 split is arbitrary just for illustrative
> > purposes. I don't
> > know of any way to tell what is wages and what is
> > profit in the case of
> > the self-employed.
> >
> > If the other painting was sold for only two million
> > that is only one
> > million wages plus profits for an hour's work.
> >
> > I am unable to see the force of your objections.
> ____________________________
> The force of my objection is that by your reasoning my
> same expenditure of "labor time" has different wages
> and creates different values by your definition, which
> makes your definition nonsensical.

It happens all the time that the same expenditure of labour-time has
different wages and creates different values. For example, women doing
the same job as men are often paid less.

To clear up a possible confusion, I should say that I take money as the
sole measure of the relative value of produced commodities. This means
that the value of a produced commodity is equal to the value of the
money it sells for. Money is, after all, the universal equivalent.
Socially necessary labour time is measured, ex post, by money. There are
no quantitative incongruities of price and magnitude of value.

There is no difficulty over the same expenditure of labour-time,
measured by the clock, adding different magnitudes of relative value.

> __________________________
> >
> > Assets such as Picassos are valuable in the everyday
> > sense of the term.
> >
> > I have given an example to suggest that they possess
> > value in Marx's
> > sense, embodied labour value.
> >
> > Do you think that Piccassos possess value?
> __________________
> No.
> _____________
> >
> > If so, what do you consider the nature of this value
> > to be? Where did it
> > come from?
> >
> > If not, why not?
> _______________________
> It is because value is a theoretical concept. Adam
> Smith, Ricardo, and following them Marx defined their
> theoretical field by taking only those commodities
> into consideration whose supply could be increased or
> reduced by application of more or less labor. They had
> a concept called center of gravitation, which was
> central to their understanding of 'competition' in
> capitalism. Marx's 'absolute' value category also
> applies only to such commodities. Rare paintings such
> as Picaso's that are fixed in supply do have prices
> but don't fall under the law of competition or
> gravitation. Their prices are solely determined by the
> intensity of demand (or utility). People who are
> generally not very clear about the theories make the
> mistake of jumping quickly from theoretical categories
> to empirical categories. For example, reducing total
> money prices of an economy to some kind of total value
> by using whatever translation mechanism they do,
> forgets that value categories can only be applied to
> only a subset of the commodities that have prices in
> the empirical world. Furthermore, at any given time
> prices of commodities are not equal to 'prices of
> production' or values. Even if you assume that value
> categories could be applied to all the commodities in
> the market, if the market prices are not equal to
> prices of production or values then the proposition
> that total money prices must be equal to total money
> equivalent of value would be wrong, unless you assume
> that demand curves of all the commodites are identical
> rectangular hyperbolas. I hope this clearfies your
> thinking somewhat. Cheers, ajit sinha
When Picasso painted and sold a painting did it have an embodied labour

On goods that are not freely reproducible. This led Ricardo to his
theory of differential rent. The landlord sells a commodity -- access to
infra-marginal land -- to the farmer for a money rent. Does this
commodity have intrinsic labour value?  (I do not think it possesses
embodied labour value but labour value can have more aspects than just
embodied labour value.)

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