[OPE-L:2209] schismatics

Paul Cockshott (wpc@cs.strath.ac.uk)
Tue, 14 May 1996 08:31:30 -0700

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>Paul 2 (op cit)
>[Andrew's theory] forces you to reject, much of marx's published writings on
>value in the first part of capital and in Wages Prices and Profit, where he
>is quite unequivocal in defining value in terms of embodied labour.
>a)How does Paul 2 differ from discipleship and schismatics?


It is 100 0ogmatics, a terrain onto which I entered under 
protests because Andrew repeatedly demanded that I did so, 
apparently regarding any other approach as avoiding the

> >c)If I pay money worth 10 hours for materials and add 10 hour of living > labour to it, then I would say (along with Andrew, Bruce, Fred, and > possibly Michael and Geert also) that its value is 20 hours. I would > say that's how the labour gets embodied. We don't have a dispute between > embodied and disembodied labour but about how the labour gets embodied. > >

Paul ---- You can chose to define labour that way, but besides being counter intuitive, one ends up with a definition of labour content that is very sensitive to the fine structure of property ownership. The labour content of a commodity can change drastically as a result in changes in landownership.

Consider the case where Shell sells petrol that it purchases on the open market and refines. Under your definition its labour content is a) the labour of the workers in the refinery b) the money spent purchasing the crude oil times the average amount of embodied labour that can be purchased per unit of money.

Due to the effect of ground rent, b) will be more than the labour needed to produce crude oil.

If Shell now acquires the oil field, the value of the petrol is now:

a) the labour of the refinery workers b) the labour of the oilfield workers

( in both cases I ignore wear and tear on machinery).

This will be lower than the previous value of petrol under your method. There has been no change in the conditions of production, but the reported labour content has changed.

If one defines the value of the inputs to be simply what is paid for them, you end up with at theory that is only one step away from saying prices are prices are prices. It becomes impossible to distinguish changes in values from the effects of speculative price movements or the effects of rent.

You have a theory, yes, but it is very weak, little more than a re-labeling of commonsense perceptions of the individual businessman. Paul Cockshott

wpc@cs.strath.ac.uk http://www.cs.strath.ac.uk/CS/Biog/wpc/index.html