[OPE-L:4314] Re: MEL and determination of value by labor-time

Michael William (mwilliam@compuserve.com)
Fri, 7 Mar 1997 16:27:43 -0800 (PST)

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In the light of the discussion between (inter alia) Alejandro and Gerry, I
thought perhaps we should remind ourselves of the following quote from
"If the market cannot stomach the whole quantity at the normal price of 2
shillings a yard, this proves that *too great a portion of the total labour
of the community has been expended in the form of weaving. The effect is
the same as if each individual weaver had expended more labour-time upon
his particular product than is social necessary." (Marx 1887, Capital, v1,
ch. 3, section 2, p. 109 in the 1974 L&W edition, emphasis added). I have
always taken this to support the value-form interpretation that value is
only quantitatively determined at the point of exchange. What the quantity
of socially necessary abstract labour time is is determined only in the
intersection of production and exchange, that is circulation. Marx does not
have a 'productivist' theory of value. The labour expended on products
(failed commodities) that turn out to be in excess supply is just *wasted*,
just as that extra labour expended under a sub-averagely productive
technique of production is socially wasted. So there is no 'value' to be
destroyed, eroded or whatever in a pile of commodities in excess supply.

Or is this just an aberration in the crucial, carefully worked out,
dialectical presentation in the first section of Cv1?
Dr Michael Williams
"Books are Weapons"

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