[OPE-L:2802] Re: Social labour vs socially necessary labour

Paul Cockshott (wpc@cs.strath.ac.uk)
Tue, 6 Aug 1996 15:05:23 -0700 (PDT)

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At 10:19 02/08/96 -0700, rakesh bhandari wrote:
>In thinking about Paul C's juxtaposition of concepts in the header to this
>post, I asked myself yet again what is the significance of Marx's claim in
>that famous letter to Kugelmann that in a class divided system of
>production for private profit it must be through exchange value that the
>collective or social labor upon which society is dependent must be
>organized? Does this not suggest that value of a commodity can be nothing
>other than the quanta of *social labor time* required for its production
>in the specific proportion necessary for the reproduction of society, not
>simply the individual labor time that happened to go into its production?

Labour can be social but unnecessary, when overproduction occurs in an industry.
It is still social in that it is a portion of societies labour that
has been wasted, and wasted moreover in social rather than private
production - the product was not intended for the direct consumption of
the producers.

>Another way of looking at this question: why can't time chits simply
>serve as the necessary mediation between private labor and social labor;

Because so long as the labour is private the regulation of the division
of labour depends upon prices fluctuating above or below par.

>also why did Marx argue that in *Critique of the Gotha Programme* that
>one's relation to social labor should not be determined by the value of
>one's labor anyway?

Because in an advanced society, even an advanced capitalist one, the
principle of distribution according to need also operates.

Paul Cockshott (wpc@cs.strath.ac.uk)