Re: measurement of abstract labor

From: Rakesh Bhandari (rakeshb@STANFORD.EDU)
Date: Wed Jun 23 2004 - 18:26:13 EDT

At 10:33 AM -0700 6/23/04, Ian Wright wrote:
>Hi Rakesh
>>  I think this conflicts with your earlier claim that value is
>>  determined by technical conditions alone, no?
>This is a semantic issue. The selection from the possible values is
>determined by demand. But the *value* is not determined by demand, it
>is determined by the objective constraints on our productive activity,
>i.e. the technical conditions. So demand can determine which real
>possibilities become actual. But it does not determine the

>Say I select 3 wrapped presents from a possible 10 for my birthday. I
>open up my 3 and get presents A, B and C. Did my choice determine the
>contents of those presents? No it determined which ones I actually got
>to see.

Your choice determined which present we got to see or which value prevails.

Value only has a probability distribution before exchange,
probability of which present will be chosen.  Actual value cannot be
conceived as logically or temporally antecedent to exchange; value
only comes to exist in its price effects. This was the basis of
Hilferding's reply to Bohm Bawerk, but don't have time to check the
text (he makes distinction between theoretical and practical measure
of value which no one has yet discussed). It may have been what
Althusser was getting at near end of Reading Capital.

We can't simply move from technical conditions (plus distributional
parameter) to values in exchange; we also have to move from exchange
to technical conditions.  In your ex we only find what present we
have (what the value is) once a choice is made  outside the box,
outside production itself.

I don't think Patrick Murray is on this list, but somewhere he argues
that demand is built into Marx's value in a way that it is not in the
classical labour theory of value. Perhaps this is what he has in
mind. I can't remember, but several in his Marxist theory group are
on this list.

Yours, R


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