Re: measurement of abstract labor

From: Allin Cottrell (
Date: Mon Jun 21 2004 - 22:12:49 EDT

On Mon, 21 Jun 2004, Rakesh Bhandari wrote:

> If one could measure socially necessary average labor time directly,
> then the program of labor certificates would not be utopian: money
> would not be the necessary form of appearance of value.

This implies (I think) a misunderstanding of Marx's critique of 'labor
certificates' that is unfortunately all too common among Marxists.

Marx took it for granted that one could measure socially necessary
labour time in a socialist (planned) economy, and he corresponding
advocated the use of such certificates in the Critique of the Gotha

What he attacked was the notion that one could achieve economic
justice under capitalism by enforcing exchange "at value"; and further
he held that such a policy would in fact block the typical mechanism
for the allocation and reallocation of resources between productive
activities under capitalism, which proceeds precisely via the
divergence of price and value.

Allin Cottrell

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