[OPE-L:4617] Re: Four-cornered triangle

andrew klima (Andrew_Kliman@msn.com)
Mon, 31 Mar 1997 05:18:22 -0800 (PST)

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In reply to Michael Perelman's ope-l 4616.

He quotes me:

"I think you are still confusing the actual amount of abstract labor-time
expended, which is measurable in the manner I have already outlined, with the
amount of value created by means of the expenditure of that labor-time."

And replies:

"Maybe so, but please tell me how I can measure the amount of abstract labor
in a process in which you have some very skilled people working alongside less
skilled workers."

Answer: with a stopwatch.

I realize this doesn't answer the question you want answered, but it does
answer the question you asked.

What you want answered is how we can measure the amount of *value created* in
a span of time when labors of different complexities are involved. But you
asked, and I have answered, how the amount of *abstract labor* can be

According to Marx, the more complex abstract labor COUNTS, with respect to
value production, as a multiple of simple abstract labor. So to measure the
amount of value produced, one would need to know all these multipliers. Good
luck. But to measure the ACTUAL amount of abstract labor expended, a
stopwatch is basically sufficient (given equal intensities of work).

Again, I feel the need to note that this may all seem like nitpicky stuff, but
all these minute distinctions are actually necessary in order to make sense of
Marx's text, and to show why, where, and how interpretations in which value is
created in exchange, and/or labor becomes abstract in exchange, go wrong.

Andrew Kliman