[OPE-L:4792] Re: Parsimony

Paul Cockshott (wpc@cs.strath.ac.uk)
Tue, 15 Apr 1997 08:11:19 -0700 (PDT)

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> Of course technical meanings of terms can often diverge a long way from
> their everyday meanings. However, in the social sciences, this needs to
> accounted for, because, IMO, ideas, meanings etc. are constitutive of
> social structures, even when they are not necessarily embedded in
> institutions etc. Cast your eye over this list of dictionary definitions
> 'value' from the COD:
There are multiple uses of the word value, certainly, but this is
not relevant to political economy where we are using the word in
highly specific and restricted sense. The word is used in english
rather loosely to apply to any set with a lattice structure , i.e.,
one in which each pair of members has a greatest lower bound and
least upper bound. When you use the word you seem to mean the same
thing as the classical economists meant by exchange value, which
in formal terms would be a set which is homomorphic with the integers.

At a formal level what I term value is equivalent to what you term
value in the sense of their having an algebra homomorphic with
integer arithmetic, the difference is that I treat them as integers
of a different dimension - labour time, you treat them as having
the dimension dollars or pounds. I take the labour value theory to
be of greater explanatory power than the money value theory in that
labour values are a plausible cause of relative money values, whereas
the reverse is not the case.