[OPE-L:2693] Re: More on abstract labour

Duncan K Foley (dkf2@columbia.edu)
Sat, 20 Jul 1996 18:25:30 -0700 (PDT)

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On Tue, 23 Jul 1996, Paul Cockshott wrote:

> >
> >I guess I'm more worried about trying to allocate production resources in
> >a modern society on the basis of labor values, which I must confess is
> >puzzling to me. I would have thought a socialist society would establish
> >some kind of social priorities, and allocate according to the shadow
> >prices.
> >
> >Yours,
> >Duncan
> >
> Paul:
> How would the shadow prices be calculated?

Well, they are implicit in the optimization of a social welfare function
subject to constraints on the availability of resources.

> In what units would the social priorities be measured in order to
> comensurate them with the shadow prices?

This is, of course, very abstract and theoretical, but the idea would be
to measure relevant aspects of the allocation, including average levels of
consumption, provision for the future, and distribution (a la Marx's
remarks in his comments on the Gotha program), and establish a social
ranking among the goals that compete. Then maximizing the social welfare
function would yield shadow prices on whatever resources one regarded as
scarce (including human time and energy).