[OPE-L:6306] Re: Re: Historical, real and current costs

Gerald Levy (glevy@pratt.edu)
Wed, 18 Mar 1998 03:38:37 -0500 (est)

(... for some reason I'm having a hard time getting the following posted.
... another try follows:)

Andrew K wrote on Mon, 16 Mar:

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

This led me to note that in Andrew's example:

> Since no direct or indirect labour is being performed on the
> widgets after 5 p.m, you are asserting that the additional value
> created after working time was created by *nature* (the Sun in
> particular)."

Andrew then responded to Mike W, who also noted the same expression in
Andrew's earlier post:

> 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.

But, the example that you are using clearly means, given the
specification and assumptions of the example, that value increased without
any expenditure of living or dead labour. This is the case because labour
is not, by assumption, used post-working time in the drying of the widgets
and there is no constant capital, also by assumption. What then could
increase the value of the product? Only nature (solar power) remains as
the agent which increases value. In other words, the reason this issue
cropped-up now was not Andrew's "lack of clarity", but rather the
specification of his example.

Andrew responded to me in a somewhat less charitable way than he did with
Mike W:

> See how easy it is to find someone guilty of internal inconsistency?
> You have the makings of a great economist!

To begin with, this response seems unnecessarily sarcastic.

Also, you might not like the term (I don't particularly like it either),
but what is your profession? When you were a graduate student,
weren't you a student in an economics department? Didn't you get your
graduate degrees in economics? Don't you teach economics in an economics
department? Doesn't that make you an "economist"?

In solidarity, Jerry

PS: since the whole issue of the MELT (as Mike W noted) is tied to this
thread, let me note that in Andrew's example we have a one-commodity
economy. Under those circumstances why would there be any money at all?
I.e. why wouldn't the producers receive compensation for their labour-time
via barter?