[OPE-L:6301] RE: Re: Historical, real and current costs

andrew kliman (Andrew_Kliman@CLASSIC.MSN.COM)
Tue, 17 Mar 98 01:11:32 UT

A reply to the PIAF:

From: owner-ope-l@galaxy.csuchico.edu on behalf of Michael Williams
Sent: Tuesday, March 17, 1998 6:10 PM
To: ope-l@galaxy.csuchico.edu
Subject: Re: [OPE-L] Re: Historical, real and current costs

I had written:

"The problem that my example addresses is that wages accrue only during
working time, but value increases throughout production time."

Michael writes: "I have been following this discussion with interest. But
this really is a puzzle. Could we have more citation from Marx? More
clarification? I recognize and respect Andrew's desire to eschew any
suggestion of modelling, or even general exemplification, here. But surely if
this is to be an interesting case, it must be a widespread
(or otherwise significant) phenomenon that value increases when no labour has
been performed. I'm not even sure I understand production time during which
labour is not performed?"

First, I should apologize for my lack of clarity. I didn't mean that "value
increases when no labour has been performed." I meant only that, as I
interpret Marx, the timing of the two may be diachronic. Once the product is
*completed*, the increase in its value (over the cost of the means of
production used up in producing it) equals the (monetary expression of the)
living labor expended in producing it. But there is not necessarily a simple
mapping of the form dV/dt = dL/dt, etc.

For an example: 100 hours of living labor are extracted, up through 5 pm, and
100 chunches, the output, are finally dry at 9 pm. The value of the chunches,
I think Marx would argue, is (the monetary expression of) 100 labor-hours.
But I don't think he'd say they had this value at 5 pm.

As for citations to Marx, I referred in a post that crossed this one to TSV
III's discussions of Mill, Sr. and MacCulloch, and the chapter in _Capital_ II
on "Production Time." In that chapter, there are numerous examples from a
variety of industries of how working time and production time differ, which
goes to the question of it being a widespread phenomenon.

Marx considers the working time to be part of the production time. The gaps
can occur anywhere during the production time, beginning, middle, end. The
working time is any time during which workers are actually working to produce
the product. I think production time is either the whole period between input
and output, or the uninterrupted subperiods between input and output. In any
case, terminology aside, there are three distinct concepts.

An example: It takes two days to build a chair. (Whole period between input
and output.) During the night in between these two days, production is
interrupted. (Two uninterrupted subperiods between input and output.)
Production continues after work is completed on the second day, because the
chair is only finished when the varnish is dry. (Distinction between working
time and production time.)

Other examples: Soup has more value once it is cooked. Output comes from a
computer sometime after the command is given by the worker.

Andrew Kliman