[OPE-L:7298] [OPE-L:827] Re: Horsepower

Ajit Sinha (sinha@cdedse.ernet.in)
05 Apr 99 14:03:12 IST (+0530)

> This is indeed a serious issue. Popper in his Open Society uses
> it to mock
> Marx for believing in 'the holiness of human labour'. It is clear
> that work
> is a nested concept with more and more abstract detemrminants as
> one moves
> up. To begin with: wage workers, then human labour in general,
> then that of
> oxen and horses then that of the work nature performs on itself
> when plants
> grow, wine matures and finally the work done by machines. All of
> these take
> time and use energy. The question Popper is throwing at us is why
> are we
> associating value production only with the first?
> It could be said - and this might suit a C Part One context -
> that it is
> because human labour involves what Lukacs called 'teleological
> positing'
> (Simon Mohun says this in his Value Debates collection).
> However this runs into the problem that in capitalist production
> the most
> substantial part of the workforce have no such control over the
> purpose and
> method of work but just execute orders.
> So I prefer to locate the key difference in the fact that only
> labour has
> the subjective potential to overturn the relations of production
> and
> capital therefore faces it as a special case of the things it has
> to
> 'exploit' to produce a surplus product.
> I would locate the treatment of abstract labour in this context
> too in that
> before it appears as abstract in exchange it is already treated
> abstractly
> as a universal resource/problem by capital.
> Especially interesting I think is whether we agree with Marx in
> making a
> distinction between production time and labour time so as to
> dismiss the
> residue as categorially similar to circulation time in not
> creating value.
> >From an ecological standpoint one can imagine the criticism that
> this is a
> terrible prejudice and the contribution of 'nature naturing' has
> to be
> counted as part of the time condensed in the value of the
> product.
> My answer is that value is a social relation as above.
I don't know if I understand everything said above. But it seems to
me that you are rejecting the arguments pointing toward labor as
cause of value. If value, that is the labor time needed to produce
the commodities, is a social relation, then the question is what
kind of social relation it is? Does it represent the relation of
social division of labor or does it represent the relation between
capital and labor? Cheers, ajit sinha
> Chris Arthur
> >> >
> >> >Of course only an economist qua economist could be satisfied
> with
> >> >the analogy between Watt's abstract work (horsepower per
> period)
> >> >and a concept of abstract labour build around human sweat,
> blood
> >> >and passions.
> >> >
> >> >Massimo
> >> >
> >> Speciesist! Do not horses toil and sweat.
> >> Paul Cockshott
> >>
> >
> >Of course they do, but in horse ways, and with horse-forms of
> >rebellion and aspirations.
> >
> >Massimo.