[OPE-L:4856] Re: value vs potential value

Michael A. Lebowitz (mlebowit@sfu.ca)
Wed, 23 Apr 1997 22:09:07 -0700 (PDT)

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There seem to be two separate questions you are considering (or, at
least, I have tended to think of them separately). On the question of
whether value is only potential until the product is proven to be a
use-value by the act of exchange, you seem to be in agreement with me (and
Michael W. and Jerry --- and perhaps many others):

> If you use the word "potential" as "not represented", I think I'm not
> against that the value is only potential until the successfull exchange.
> ("putative" seems to me too strong)
> But I don't forget that the representation of the value proves the fact
> that the value of the commodity is worth the quantity already determined
> in production when it proves itself usefull for others.

On the other hand, you describe a social process which seems to occur only
within the sphere of production (the physiological expenditure of human
power). In this case, your main focus is the "reduction" of skilled to
simple labour (which has been a theme in a number of your postings). Are
these two questions (1--determination of a quantity of simple labour via
some form of reduction/"mapping" and 2-- determination of whether a
commodity contains value/abstract labour) inseparable for you?

> First, there must exist a function that determines what is the level and
> 'the type' of physiological expenditure of human power that should be
> regarded as simple labor. I think this fuction may change as the job
> structure changes. But it seems to me too immediate to conclude that
> simple labor is regarded as 'social average',though simple labor is
> determined as expenditure of human power at 'normal' intensity. The
> skiiled labor that merely produces more goods than simple has to be
> evaluated proportional to the ratio of quantity of goods produced by it
> to that by simple labor. Second, there must be a fuction that evaluates
> complicated labor as some multiple of simple labor. This is so-to-say
> historical and cutural. The mapping I assumed is one that both functions
> are integrated.

in solidarity,
Michael A. Lebowitz
Economics Department, Simon Fraser University
Burnaby, B.C., Canada V5A 1S6
Office: (604) 291-4669; Office fax: (604) 291-5944
Home: (604) 872-0494; Home fax: (604) 872-0485
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e-mail: mlebowit@sfu.ca