Re: [OPE] intermission: value of knowledge

From: Paula <>
Date: Tue Jan 05 2010 - 17:17:53 EST

Apologies for the long delay in replying - just back from a break.

In his last message on this thread, Dave mentioned the example (previously brought up by Jurriaan) of 'pre-capitalist modes of production that regulated labour in the abstract', eg the Sumerian civilization. In Jurriaan's words:

"On the basis of their input, output and labor accounting, the Sumerian analysts, particularly from the Ur III period, were evidently able to estimate, in quantitatively accurate terms, how much labor it took to produce a certain quantity of output, and therefore how many workers you needed for a given interval of time. They lacked a money commodity, in the sense of a universal equivalent for exchanging goods, but nevertheless "The concept of value equivalency was a secure element in Babylonian accounting by at least the time of the sales contracts of the ED IIIa (Fara) period, c. 2600 BC." (Hudson/Wunsch, op. cit., p. 38)."

Yes, of course, accountants can make this sort of estimation - and arguably this is a key prerequisite of a planned economy. But what is specific to capitalism is that, as a rule, and without the intervention of such accountants, the average amount of labor time appears in the form of value, ie, as an objective property of the goods produced, not as the social activity of human subjects.


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Received on Tue Jan 5 17:20:01 2010

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