[OPE-L:3108] RE: assumptions, assumptions, assumptions

Gerald Lev (glevy@pratt.edu)
Tue, 24 Sep 1996 06:58:02 -0700 (PDT)

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I agree with Allin's accessment that this debate is ceasing to be
productive. However, I want to respond more specifically to a question
that Andrew asked yesterday:

> OK. Assuming that the full twenty-four hours of the day are entirely
> appropriated by capital, then how is v > 0?

I. Can the length of the working day = 24 hours?
"... the working day has a maximum limit. It cannot be prolonged beyond
a certain point. This maximum limit is conditioned by two things.
First, by the physical bounds of labour-power. Within the 24 hours of
the natural day a man can expend only a definite quantity of his vital
force. A horse, in like manner, can only work from day to day, 8 hours.
During part of the day this force must rest; sleep; during another part
the man has to satisfy other physical needs, to feed, wash, and clothe
himself. Besides these purely physical limitations, the extension of
the working day encounters moral ones ...." (Vol. 1, Kerr ed., p. 256).

I believe the above establishes conclusively that Marx did not believe
that the working day could equal 24 hours. Therefore, any assumption
that the working day can = 24 hours is at odds with his very clear
statements to the contrary.

II. Can necessary labor = 0?
"That portion of the working day, then, during which this reproduction
takes place, I call "*necessary*" labour-time, and the labour expended
during that time I call "*necessary*" labour. Necessary, as regards
the labourer, because independent of the particular form of his
labour; necessary, as regards capital, and the world of capitalists,
because the continued existence of the labourer depends their
existence also" (Ibid, p. 240).

I, therefore, believe that Marx states decisively that necessary
labor must be greater than 0. An assumption that necessary labor = 0
is therefore illegitimate as it relates to an interpretation of Marx.

With this post, I anticipate that my contribution to the v = 0 discussion
will cease. I believe that I have already convinced just about all
listmembers of the import of the v = 0 assumption.

Can we now get back to discussing some other topics. Rakesh: do you think
that you will have some time soon to reproduce the rest of Blake's
questions? For others who are not part of the Okishio or related threads:
what topics would you like to see us discuss?

In OPE-L Solidarity,