[OPE-L:4976] Re: ideal vs real value

Paul Cockshott (wpc@cs.strath.ac.uk)
Mon, 12 May 1997 02:37:06 -0700 (PDT)

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M Williams
> I do not see any justification for the 'thus' here. As to the question of
> the 'change' of value in the act of systemic exchange, you do indeed
> the consensus view (between, eg, you and Jerry). I agree that no new
> is incorporated in either commodity by the act of exchange. But I still
> maintain that it is only in the act of systemic exchange (that
> refers to REproduction) that value is quantitatively determined. The
> ground for this argument is that specific labours as such are
> incommensurable: they are differentiated in terms of their 'skill' both
> with respect to the kinds of use-values they produce (or contribute to
> production of) and in terms of their productivity. The 'reduction' of
> skilled to 'simple' labour - and so the constitution of abstract labour,
> repeatedly achieved (and modified) by the systemic commensuration of the
> commodities that these labours produce, grounded in the more or less
> ubiquitous system of input and output markets.
P Cockshott
The difference between value form theorists and others seems to me
to resemble that between those who have taken a realist view of
science - that there exists a definite reality independent of measurement -
like Einstein, and those like Bohr and the Copenhagen school who
held that science could only be about correlations between measuring

In the case we are discussing, the measuring act is exchange, the
question is whether, as a realist view would have it, value exists
independent of its measurement, or as an idealist view would have it,
it only exists when measured.

I, as you would expect, hold to the realist view, that value exists
independently of being measured - in the possibly unobserved relationship
between the labour used to make something, and the aggregate of social
labour. It seems to me that the value form theorists take a Copenhagen
view of these things.