[OPE-L:1869] Re: [Massimo] Re: Definitions of value

Paul Cockshott (wpc@cs.strath.ac.uk)
Mon, 22 Apr 1996 08:58:48 -0700

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>Sorry Paul, but it does not follow necessarily from your definiiton.
>You define value of a product as " the portion of society's labour needed to
>reproduce it" You define labour as "Clock time multiplied by people"
>and you "of coruse" mean "people engaged in work".Which answers to
>my querstion "Define your labour please" as "labour is people engaged
>in work moltiplied by clock time". It sounds very close to a
>tautology to me.

It is not a tautology, since that is an argument that is true
by definition. I was not presenting an argument but giving a
definition of how one should go about measuring labour, when
considering it as a portion of the total labour of society.
It it appears like a tautology, simply a restatement of the
obvious, then that is no disadvantage. If one is to have a definition
of labour time as person hours, then this must come down in the
end to counting people and timing activities.

The definition is relatively simple, actually obtaining data
on it in a capitalist economy is much harder.

Remember this is just a definition, it is only when we make some
hypotheses from the definition, that one goes beyond the tautological.
If, for instance, I assert that the observed mean rate of money
profit in a capitalist economy will be a monotonically decreasing
function of the proportion of societies labour time devoted to
the production of means of production, then I am making a non-tautological

The usefullness of a definition stems from the ease with which it
enables one to formulate, hopefully true, hypotheses that go
beyond the definition itself.
Paul Cockshott