[OPE-L:5001] Re: production and realization

Ajit Sinha (ecas@cc.newcastle.edu.au)
Wed, 14 May 1997 01:43:54 -0700 (PDT)

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At 07:33 AM 5/13/97 -0700, Chai-on Lee wrote:
>At 03:22 97-05-13 -0700, Ajit wrote in regard to Fred,
>>How is surplus labor determined whose monetary expression is 'surplus
>>value'? In my opinion, the unit of surplus value is labor-time and not gold
>>or silver. What kind of textual evidence do you have for your claim?
>Chai-on: If the value of gold and silver is not different from the price of
>the gold and silver, I think we can measure the amount of surplus labor
>with the gold and silver. Unifying the account units.

Ajit: On what ground one can put the value of gold or silver equal to price
of gold or silver? The condition for this happening is so restrictive that
you don't even wanna think about it. I'm amazed how people in 1997 could go
on making such restrictive assumption in the name of solving the
transformation problem, when many have already shown that in the traditional
framework, Marx's two invariant conditions can be fulfilled under much less
restrictive conditions.
>>How is the value determined in your framework, and what is its unit?
>Chai-on: Even if it is determined by labor time, we can measure in monetary
>units because the labor time is not actually measurable. The real unit of
>temperature, the collision movement units of moleculars is hard to grasp,
>so we use the height of mercury to meausre the temperature. The only
>problem in Fred is that he did not seem to take money as a commodity and as
>a product of labor. If it is not the product of labor, the surplus value
>cannot be measured with monetary units.

Ajit: A bad example. Temperature is necessarily a relative category, but
Marx's value is an absolute category. I think you are wrong when you say
'labor time is actually not measurable". In principle you can always measure
the amount of labor-time that goes into producing a commodity. Moreover, if
you admit that labor-time is not measurable, then the whole idea of
translating the monetary value to labor-time is nothing but a sham. On what
basis you could say that so much of gold or silver is equal to so much of
labor-time, when you admit that it cannot be measured. On the other hand,
one can also say that actually prices are not measurable; since same
commodity has various prices. As i said in response to Andrew, his prices
are abstract too because in general prices for a commodity when bought in
bulk is lower than prices for the same commodity when bought in small quantity.

Cheers, ajit sinha