[OPE-L:2821] Re: mattick and abstract labour

Paul Cockshott (wpc@cs.strath.ac.uk)
Wed, 14 Aug 1996 13:34:08 -0700 (PDT)

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Rakesh mentioned that Mattick was a source of the belief that abstract
labour exists only in capitalist society.

I went and read the relevant chapters of Mattick and find little evidence
that he believed this. Instead he seems to take the straightforward
view that abstract labour is just human labour in general, something that
has existed in all social formations. He recognises that the ability
to conceptualise this *as a category of political economy* arose historically
at the dawn of capitalist society, but, he makes the obvious destinction between
the history of ideas and the history of what the idea refers to.

He also put forward, in his final chapter, ideas about the use of labour
time in economic calculation under socialism that I would generally agree with.
What he was saying seems to be much along the same lines as Allin and I have
written, though somewhat less detailed.

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