Re: measurement of abstract labor

From: Paul Cockshott (wpc@DCS.GLA.AC.UK)
Date: Tue Jun 22 2004 - 17:51:01 EDT

We measure the weight of objects by quantities of iron THAT HAVE THE SAME
WEIGHT.  Similarly, in Marx's theory, with commodity money and at the high
level of abstraction of Part 1 of Volume 1, the labor-time contained in
commodities is measured by quantities of the money commodity THAT CONTAIN
THE SAME QUANTITY OF LABOR-TIME.  The "measure" of the labor-times
contained in commodities discussed in Chapter 3 is indeed reduced to a
"simple comparison" of the labor-times contained in commodities and money
(not a conscious comparison, of course).

Paul Cockshott
This is a live issue in contemporary metrology.
Currently the kilogram is defined in terms of the standard kilogram
in a vault in Paris. It is held to be a poor basis since one does
not know that the kilogram is an invariable standard of mass since
it may be accreting mass from the atmosphere.

Serious attempts are being made to replace the kilogram with other
standards of mass based on electro magnetic effects. There was a
review of the problem in Science in may

Metrologists want a standard of weight that does not itself
'contain' weight.

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