Re: [OPE] intermission: value of knowledge

From: Paula <>
Date: Fri Nov 20 2009 - 19:16:13 EST

Jurriaan wrote:
> in practical reality a
> transformation of information into knowledge, and knowledge into
> information, is required. [clip] The conditions of
> access to information are very different depending on whether information
> is
> lodged in individuals or lodged in a transferable record or an
> associational
> form. Knowledge requires a knowing subject who activates information.

This distinction between information and knowledge seems sensible to me.
Even so information isn't realized as information until it becomes
knowledge - until, in Jurriaan's terms, we have 'access' to it or we
'activate' it. (This is similar to the point made, I think, by Marx, that a
house where nobody lives is not really a house, a train that doesn't go
anywhere is not really a train, etc. A novel that nobody reads, then, is not
really a novel). The information contained in an object is part of its
use-value and is realized in its consumption.

Jerry said:
>But, this is not a standardized product like sugar. While
>the use-value of cars might remain the same, the SNLT required to
>produce different types of cars is quite different. This doesn't mean that
>the cars are sold at their value, but it does mean that we shouldn't
>expect that even if they were sold at their value that the values of
>Fords and Buicks are the same.

Jerry, there's a confusion here. We're not expecting values to be equal,
we're saying they *would* be equal *if* it took the same amount of time to
produce the two cars. But even so their use-values would be different,
precisely because these two products are not standardized.

Dogan asked whether:
>what counts is how much awarage labour power is needed to produce. That
>what is being produced is secondary here. Am I wrong?

Depends on what question you're trying to answer. If your concern is the
*quantity* of value, then what counts is indeed the amount of abstract
labor-time needed to produce it. But, if your concern is *whether* a product
has *any value* to begin with, then you most definitely need to consider the
type of product (or the type of labor). Because not all products of labor
contain value and not all human labor is abstract labor.

Paul C wrote:
>What I am saying is that it costs work to produce certain types of
>information, and that the information has a value. This is then amortised
>accross the multiple copies of the information that are made.

I agree that it does 'cost work' to produce certain types of information;
that is to say, it takes a certain amount of labor. But the question here is
whether this labor is abstract (the kind of labor that produces value) or
only concrete. To remind ourselves, abstract labor is homogeneous human
labor. It is measured in units of socially-necessary labor time. 'The
labor-time socially necessary is that required to produce an article under
the normal conditions of production, and with the average degree of skill
and intensity prevalent at the time' (Cap. Vol 1, ch. 1). I can't see how a
novel (as distinct from a book) would be an 'article' in this sense. There's
no such thing, as far as I can see, as 'normal conditions of production' or
'average degree of skill and intensity' for novel-writing labor. Which
suggests to me that such labor is not abstract, only concrete.

(One implication of this is that information is not being 'commodified',
only 'commercialized'.)

>One has to be clear what one means by the difference in information content
>Does it mean more or less information or different information. I doubt
>that the
>genuine Dior items have more information.

It means 'different' information. Can we even quantify information?


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Received on Fri Nov 20 19:23:22 2009

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