[OPE-L:1916] Value form under planned economies

clyder (wpc@dcs.gla.ac.uk)
Mon, 13 Dec 1999 10:53:46 -0000

Fred wrote:
<<I think that is a very good question. I think I agree with Andy's answer
("value can only have an effect if it gains form), but I think it is too
vague. I would say: abstract labor must appear as price, because that is
the only way in which abstract labor can be regulated through price.
There is no other means of regulating social labor in a capitalist
commodity economy. The necessity arises, not from some general
philosophical imperative, but from the economic necessity of regulating
social labor. Abstract labor must appear as prices in order to be
regulated through prices. >>
I think that this is a very sound presentation, but it overstates it
slightly. The allocation of steel in an economy is also, to some
extent regulated by prices, but the extent to which the general
price vector for the economy is regulated by steel content of
commodities is relatively weak. The fact that something is regulated
by prices is not enough for price to become a form of representation
for that thing.

For the law of value to operate - by which I mean that prices
should be approximately proportionate to values - we need another
the property of human labour that it enters directly into the
production of all commodities - which is not true for other inputs.

I take it that you are only saying that : for labour to be regulated
by prices, prices must be correlated to labour inputs. Are you also
saying the reverse - for labour to appear as price, price must regulate

If so, how do you deal with the existence of money prices in planned
economies where the allocation of social labour is determined not
by the market but by the structure of the plan?

Paul Cockshott

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