From: Ian Wright (iwright@GMAIL.COM)
Date: Fri Jun 18 2004 - 16:27:05 EDT
Hi Allin >I was thinking of a different case: I produce some commodity, using >best-practice technology and minimum labour-time, but consumer taste >tuns against it, and it can be sold only at a heavily discounted >price. Does the low price mean that my labour-time is retrospectively >counted as less than socially necessary (i.e. that the _value_ of the >commodity I have produced is depressed by the downturn in demand)? I >think not: rather, price has been depressed below value -- and >presumably the consequence is that the quantity produced will be >curtailed, to the point where price roughly corresponds to value. Yes, the value of the commodity does not change, because value is not determined by social demand, but by the technical conditions of production. But in this case some of the labour-time expended on the production of the total volume of commodities was socially unnecessary, and therefore is unrewarded, leading to a reduction in the labour-time allocated to the production of this commodity, all other things being equal. >Does the low price mean that my labour-time is retrospectively >counted as less than socially necessary (i.e. that the _value_ of the >commodity I have produced is depressed by the downturn in demand)? The low price does mean that some of your labour-time is retrospectively counted as less than socially necessary. You wasted some time. But the value of the commodity does not change. I can take the socially necessary amount of time to produce a particular commodity but if no-one wants to buy it then my labour was socially unnecessary. Is there something wrong with this? Values can change with the volume of production (e.g., different kinds of return to scale), and hence social demand can change values via a change in the technical conditions of production. For example, a really high demand can bring out-of-date technology to life, and hence increase the value of a commodity (as discussed by Rubin in Ch.17 "Value and Social Need", if I remember correctly). Nothing controversial here I think ... ? Always worth checking on the basics. -Ian.
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