Re: [OPE] Brecht and value-form theory

From: Ian Wright <>
Date: Tue Mar 17 2009 - 16:58:17 EDT

I prefer the distinction between labor-embodied and labor-commanded.

In your poem the commodity had positive labor-embodied but commanded
zero labor. In other words, labor was expended to make it, but no
labor can be had in exchange for it.

So the labor used-up did not count as social labor. Nonetheless the
commodity had positive labor-value.

Here's a relevant quote from Mill (1848):

"The idea of a Measure of Value must not be confounded with the idea of
the regulator, or determining principle, of value. When it is said by
Ricardo and others, that the value of a thing is regulated by quantity
of labour, they do not mean the quantity of labour for which the thing
will exchange, but the quantity required for producing it. This, they
mean to affirm, determines its value; causes it to be of the value it
is, and of no other. But when Adam Smith and Malthus say that labour
is a measure of value, they do not mean the labour by which the thing
was or can be made, but the quantity of labour which it will exchange
for, or purchase; in other words the value of the thing, estimated in
labour. And they do not mean that this regulates the general exchange
value of the thing, or has any effect in determining what that value
shall be, but only ascertains what it is, and whether and how much it
varies from time to time and from place to place. To confound these
two ideas, would be much the same thing as to overlook the distinction
between the thermometer and the fire."

Labor-embodied and labor-commanded are different. The task is to
understand their casual connection during the process of production
and circulation.

On Tue, Mar 17, 2009 at 1:44 PM, Gerald Levy <> wrote:
> by Bertold Brecht (1931)
> Carefully I go over
> My plan. It is
> Great enough, it's
> Unrealisable
> ---------------------------
> by a Poor Imitator (2009)
> Carefully the capitalist  develops a plan for what to produce.
> It's a great plan, but it's unrealisable because the product -
> it turned out - had no use-value
> and
> therefore
> no value.
> ------------------------
> In solidarity, Jerry
> _______________________________________________
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Received on Tue Mar 17 17:05:42 2009

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