Re: [OPE] value and measuring labor time

From: Paul Cockshott <>
Date: Tue May 12 2009 - 07:49:03 EDT

howard engelskirchen wrote:
> Comment: (a) These snippets don't do justice to the pages taken as a
> whole. But they do suggest that a concept of measurement appropriate to the
> period of transition would not lean on individual labor time but would
> instead want to take into account the contribution of the agencies of social
> productive power to the creation of wealth, e.g. general social knowledge,
> the general intellect, the developed powers of combined social labor. It
> seems also it would want to take into account and measure disposable time,
> the full development of the individual. How do we do all this?
Well you raised the question, what are your suggestions
> (b) But if the direct contribution of individual labor and its duration
> become more and more irrelevant to measuring social wealth, and dramatically
> so, doesn't this suggest that any use of individual labor time as a measure
> after capitalism is not really an economic calculation at all.
But would this not require the mass production of intelligent robots for
it to be true?
So long as human labour enters in as an irreplacable component into
production then
labour values are important.

I think it is only in the case of information replication by servers on
the internet
that marginal labour is unimportant. Even Google distributes its services

One still has to know how the overhead costs of such services are to be met?
Although there is not a close relationship between information services
and labour
input, there is still some such relationship. People do have to work to
make the servers,
to supply the electricity, to programm and repair them.

> (c) And what if we take Marx seriously here? I suggested earlier that
> there was a theoretical point in recognizing that you couldn't measure
> without a concept of what it was that was being measured. We can even ask
> what the scientific domain is. Is it even economic? If what's at issue is
> disposable time and the full development of the individual are we talking
> about eudemonics instead? In other words, maybe a social and economic
> calculation would itself look to a transition from a science concerned with
> the production and distribution of material wealth to an ecological science
> of human flourishing.
 But once you allow ecological issues in, the classic view of communism
from Marx
to Kruschov as being above all about the elimination of necessity and
the achievement
of freedom predicated on material abundance, runs into problems.
If we have strict limits on consumption of material resources, then some
form of
costing based on that would be required.
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Received on Tue May 12 07:55:39 2009

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