[OPE-L:2723] Re: More on abstract labour

Allin Cottrell (cottrell@wfu.edu)
Fri, 26 Jul 1996 08:02:07 -0700 (PDT)

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On Thu, 25 Jul 1996, Paul Cockshott wrote (of Duncan):

> I think you have misunderstood Allin here, one of his criticisms of the
> process of economic calculation in Eastern Europe was that it made no serious
> attempt to use embodied labour coefficients at one level, and at another level
> that it used an excessive level of disaggregation in preparing plans.

Yes, except that should be "aggregation" in the last line (i.e. the
plans were not sufficiently detailed). The main point is that Soviet-
style planning did not use a consistent labour-time calculus. Some
suggestions along these lines were made (in the early '20s I think)
by Strumilin, but they were not implemented. Also, it is essential
for clarity on this issue that one distinguish sharply between Marx's
critique of "labour money" as in Proudhon (also see Engels's critique
of Rodbertus to the same effect) on the one hand, and Marx's
advocacy of a labour-time calculus (in the Critique of the Gotha
Program and passim in Capital) on the other. The critique concerned
proposals to institute "labour money" *within the context of a
commodity-producing society*; the advocacy was in the context of a
system of planning. Paul and I wrote about this in the Review of
Political Economy, 1993.