[OPE-L:7224] [OPE-L:749] Re: abstract labour

Thu, 25 Mar 1999 09:38:12 +0000

At 01:10 PM 22-03-99 IST, you wrote:
>For me the interesting question is not what "Marx held it to be"
>but rather what is this "distinct" "Abstract Labor Theory of
>Value"? This is what I want to know. If you or Blake or anyone on
>the list has an answer, then we can take it from there and see what
>kind of theory it is.
I must say that I am in agreement with you here.
It is always difficult to avoid reading earlier authors with the
benefit of hindsight, but it appears to me that the classicals
like Smith and Ricardo appreciated that the labour that created
value could potentially be allocated to different activities, and
as such could be viewed in abstraction from any one activity
in which it was expended.

Marx's rabbiting on about his great discovery of the difference
between abstract and concrete labour strikes me as just so much
German academic conceit. It is just a difference in intelectual
culture between Glasgow and Berlin Universities. If anyone is to
be credited with developing the idea of abstract labour it should
be Black and Watt.

Paul Cockshott