[OPE-L:7372] [OPE-L:902] Re: Re: Re: Re: abstract labour

Ajit Sinha (sinha@cdedse.ernet.in)
15 Apr 99 12:20:59 IST (+0530)

Rakesh is carrying on...
> Ajit declared:
> In anycase, falling rate of profit is ot Marx's strong
> >suit, so why buid a defence on that ground?
> Ajit, you must know Ricardo's anticipation of "TSS" like theories
> for why
> technical progress would reduce the value produced and presumably
> lower the
> profit rate thereby. Andrew, John and Alan may be interested in
> this
> following example from the chapter "Value and Riches, Their
> Distinctive
> Properties" in Ricardo's magnum opus:
> "Suppose with a given capital, the labour of a certain number of
> men
> producd 1000 pair of stockings, and that by inventions in
> machinery, the
> same number of men can produce 2000 pair, or that they can
> continue to
> produce 1000 pair, and can produce besides 500 hats; then the
> value of the
> 2000 pair of stockings, or of the 1000 pair of stockings, and 500
> hats,
> will be neither more or less than that of the 1000 pair of
> stockings before
> the introduction of machinery; for they will be the produce of
> the same
> quantity of labour. But the value of the general mass of
> commodities will
> nevertheless be DIMINISHED; for, although the value of the
> increased
> quantity produced, in consequence of the improvement, will be the
> same
> exactly as the value would have been of the less quantity that
> would have
> been produced, had no improvement taken palce, an effect is also
> produced
> on the portion of goods still unconsumed, which were manufactured
> previously to the improvement;: and the society will
> nothwithstanding the
> increased quantity of commodities, notwithstanding its augmented
> riches,
> and its augmented means of enjoyment, have a less amount of
> value. By
> constantly increasing the facility of production, we constantly
> diminish
> the value of some of the commodities before produced, though by
> the same
> means we not only add to the national riches, but also the power
> of future
> production>" p.273-4 of Sraffa's ed.
It is obvious that you don't understand what you quote very well.
What Ricardo is saying above is in a way a frontal rebuttal of all
the TSS nonsense. He is saying that value is always measured at a
given point in time. So the value of the product of the last period
must decline in current period value calculation due to increase in
the labor productivity in the current period. You are right that
Marx defends Ricardo on this issue because he agrees with Ricardo's
way of calculating value. Cheers, ajit sinha
> No wonder Marx defends Ricardo here against Say's rebuttal. Here
> it is: the
> inverse movement of use value and unit value and of wealth and
> value.
> Also interesting in the chapter on value and riches is the
> following
> sentence which needs to be juxtaposed with Marx's first. "wealth
> always
> depends on the quantity of commodities produced, withouth any
> regard to the
> facility with which the instruments employed in production may
> have been
> procured." Marx's analysis of the commodity allows him to sharpen
> the
> distinction already made here by Ricardo beween wealth and value
> and the
> respective labors that produce each.
> The first chapter of part one is better read in terms of
> Ricardo's
> problematic in this chapter.
> Yours, Rakesh