[OPE-L:6245] Re: value and the transformation of work

Francisco P. Cipolla (cipolla@tamandua.sociais.ufpr.br)
Wed, 4 Mar 1998 10:33:38 -0300 (EST)

On Tue, 3 Mar 1998, Michael Perelman wrote:

> My understanding of the pages to which Leda Maria referred goes like this:
> Universal labor becomes more important. As a result, the law of value breaks
> down and capitalism should give way to a more rational system.

Perelman's ditto summarizes well my feelings about this discussion. I was
also recently puzzled by the same passages of the Grundrisse Leda is
refering to. However, I think we ought to begin to put the discussion in
more concrete terms. If the law of value continues to operate then what
are the consequences of having a decrease of labor expenditures in the
labor process? Possible consequences are: 1. larger and larger amounts of
labor transfers between sectors, assuming here that the dispearance of
labor is not uniform; 2. the growth of other forms of productive or
unproductive labor according to whether or not we define r&d labor as
productive or unproductive; 3. larger and larger transfers of value
amongst nations. I am adding a MAYBE in all these possibilities because
these are just to suggest that that are real consequences to the question
raised by Leda and followed up by others.
On the other hand, if the law of value beggins to be eroded by the decline
of labor in production then what?: would we be approaching a situation in
which the decline of value as the determinant of price is giving rise to a
markup determination of prices? Would this add to the instability? My
maybe here has small letters to denote that I place less hope on this
avenue of interpretation. I feel like there are two steps to this debate:
first, defining with precision the phenomenon under inquire and second,
evaluate its consequences.
Paulo Cipolla