Re: measurement of abstract labor

From: Fred Moseley (fmoseley@MTHOLYOKE.EDU)
Date: Thu Jul 08 2004 - 14:40:43 EDT

On Fri, 2 Jul 2004, Rakesh Bhandari wrote:

> At 9:45 AM -0400 7/2/04, Fred Moseley wrote:
> >On Sun, 27 Jun 2004, Howard Engelskirchen wrote:
> >
> >>  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.
> >>
> >>  Howard
> >
> >
> >Howard, are you suggesting that money as measure of value must be a
> >commodity today?
> >
> >Comradely, Fred
> I am. Some sum of money, say $1000, has to stay constant as a
> quantity not of one commodity but a basket of commodities--e.g. x
> barrels of oil, y oz of gold, and z bushels of grain. This is
> probably what Greenspan aims to do more than maintain price stability
> per se. And this is what Greenspan has to do if he wants the dollar
> to remain the closest appromixation to world money (and thus preserve
> the attendant privileges to the US financial sector and US govt).  So
> just as Greenspan seems to be running a modified gold standard, I
> subscribe to a modified Germer theory of commodity money. There can
> at best be a partial dissolution of the fetishistic commodity basis
> of money as long as capitalist relations of production prevail. To
> maintain the commodity basis of and the constant value of the dollar,
> Greenspan  has to sacrifice the economy at the altar not of gold but
> a basket of things.

Rakesh, how would you determine the MELT (the money new-value produced per
hour of socially necessary labor-time) in your suggested case that money
is a "basket" of commodities, rather than a single commodity?

"The quantity of labor-time required to produce a unit of a "basket" of
commodities" makes no sense, because a basket of commodities HAS NO UNIT,
in physical terms.

> And at any rate, aren't we agreed on the basics?

I think so.  But the determination of the MELT in today's monetary system
is an important question in Marx's theory which has not yet been
adequately answered.


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