[OPE-L:4557] Vintages

Alan Freema (a.freeman@greenwich.ac.uk)
Thu, 27 Mar 1997 01:03:08 -0800 (PST)

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I write a question, I go to bed, I get up, the discussion
is in orbit!

The initial question was: can labour from different time-
periods (vintages) add different amounts of value?

I wanted to approach this via the following very simple
question: can a change in productivity also change the value
added, independent of a change in new (living) labour time?

I adopted the simplifications that I thought would focus on
this question. Obviously I did not make it clear enough.

First of all, at this point I want to exclude the distinction
between individual and social value, though I don't object
to a separate discussion on it. So my post said the workers
were in a "branch of production", meaning all making the
same use-value, like Marx when he speaks of a branch of
production. We only know social value, therefore.

Second, I have not yet stated what the output is sold for.
This was deliberate. In my view the value of output is given
prior to its sale (and I think we all agree on that, no?). I
have stated only that the workers make twice as much output.
We can determine the value of that output from the
circumstances of production, regardless of what it finally
sells for, as I stated in my reply to Ajit.

We can introduce variations later. What I want to get at now
is this: if there is a 'pure change in productivity' in the
above sense, does it increase the output of value? I think
so far all agree 'no' but I want to see whether we agreem
on this very basic question before looking at changes in
the monetary expression of this value.