Re: measurement of abstract labor

From: Howard Engelskirchen (howarde@TWCNY.RR.COM)
Date: Sun Jun 27 2004 - 01:21:34 EDT

Hi Paul,

You wrote:

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

My understanding is that the standard for measuring length is the wave
length emitted by an isotope of krypton.  I haven't read the issue of
Science you refer to, but my guess would be that if meterologists are able
to define weight in terms of something that is not weight it will be because
they can reduce weight to that property.  You might be able to avoid the
problem of a mass absorbing mass from the atmosphere, but you won't avoid
the problem that in comparing two things they must be comparable under some
common aspect which they share.  Two things are distant from one another
because they both have existence in space (Marx's critique of Bailey).  Two
things are comparable in the property of what we now call weight because
e.g. they both resist acceleration or whatever other common aspect turns out
to solve the  kilogram problem.


> Fred:
> 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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