[OPE-L:5022] Re: question

Ajit Sinha (ecas@cc.newcastle.edu.au)
Thu, 15 May 1997 02:50:45 -0700 (PDT)

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At 01:44 AM 5/14/97 -0700, Riccardo B. wrote:
>Dear Alls,
>Paul's 4993 make me pose to all of you this question, if you have some time
>to waste.
>Why, according to you, the value of the commodity output is nothing but
>labour in Marx?

I have no time to waste, but since you have asked me, I'm going to waste a
few minutes. I think there are two reasons for reducing commodity values to
labor-time in Marx:

(1) To develop a theory of prices, in other words solve Ricardo's first
modification to LTV problem. However, we do not need labor-values for this
problem anymore after Sraffa.

(2) and this is the more important issue for me. Marx's analysis of
capitalist dynamics is built on his notion of exploitation, which is defined
in terms of labor-time. The difference between necessary and surplus labor
is a labor-time measure akin to labor exploitation of the serf in the feudal
system where the serf works for the landlord gratis. Givn this notion of
exploitation, labor-time is chosen as the fundamental unit of measure for
the analysis of capitalism. Therefore, measure of value is labor-time. The
measure of prices of production is also labor-time. The difference is that
the ratios of prices of production gives you the exchange ratios of
commodities when profit rate is equalized, where as labor-value ratios will
not be the 'correct' exchange-value ratios. Cheers, ajit sinha