[OPE-L:7192] [OPE-L:710] Re: Re: Re: Use and abuse of mathematics [OPE 574]

Ajit Sinha (sinha@cdedse.ernet.in)
20 Mar 99 12:36:37 IST (+0530)

Rakesh wrote:
> Only the conclusion you [Gil] state is thereby assumed. It is
> Marx's
> conclusion. Marx's whole point is the correction of the classical
> labor
> theory of value, viz. the idea that labor was the cause of the
> value of
> commodities. To return to Blake: "they {Smith and Ricardo] did
> not know
> that labor produces two values, one a use value that is
> antecedent to the
> product becoming a commodity and which does enter into a
> commodity
> relations, or into value itself, which is the labor time socially
> required
> in production and which we recognize only as it appears in
> exchange. If
> there were no social contradiction, that is, if goods were
> produced by
> labor in direct social relations, there could no such two fold
> character of
> labor. The reason for this twofold character is social, the
> division of
> classes, and the realization of value by exchange, that is, the
> recognition
> of the value of one commodity by way of another. THE CRITICS OF
> COMMON WITH THE MARXIST. Marx neither holds (as nearly everyone
> believes)
> that labor creates all wealth, nor that labor creates all value.
> Only
> *abstract labor creates all value*, and then only for a definite
> social
> reason." (capitalisation mine)
> Rakesh
I think the idea that labor is the *cause* of value must be given
up--it leads to nowhere but dead ends. One should start thinking in
terms of labor as *measure* of value. Though I disagree with the
'new solution' proponents of transformation problem, I think they
are on the right track by trying to use labor as a measure and
having no truck with the causal relation with labor and value.

I think Blake has no clue of what he is talking about. Any one who
clubs Smith and Ricardo as having one theory of value is
demonstrating that he/she has not read either Smith or Ricardo.
Smith, of course, has no labor theory of value to begin with. He
does use labor-commanded as unit of measure though. Though it is
true that there is a confusion between labor as the cause of value
and labor as the measure of value in the classical literature. It
is Marx who vitiates more in the direction of *cause* than Smith
and Ricardo (Smith, of course, moves in the subjective direction
with his idea of labor as sacrifice).

In the formula that it is the *abstract labor* that
produces value, the word *abstract labor* is usually used as
magical incantation that solves all the problem. Ask Blake to
explain his *abstract labor*. One more point. Blake says that the
reason for two fold character of labor is social, i.e. class
division and social division of labor. But the fact of the matter
is that in Part one of *Capital* I there is no class division. So
which book Blake is reading? Cheers, ajit sinha