From: Paul Bullock (paulbullock@EBMS-LTD.CO.UK)
Date: Tue Nov 30 2004 - 10:15:19 EST
Paul C , let me add here below. ----- Original Message ----- From: Paul Cockshott To: OPE-L@SUS.CSUCHICO.EDU Sent: Tuesday, November 30, 2004 12:14 PM Subject: Re: [OPE-L] (OPE-L) recent references on 'problem' of money commodity? Paul B wrote With respect to other comments on gold, then certainly gold production is labour intensive. This limitation is itself a result of the need to compress as much human labour as possible (socially, politically acceptable) into each ounce, to ensure that the maximum quantity of surplus labour is contained in each ounce, an aim that can be pursued since gold is not in competition with any other commodity for its role as money, and is not forced to cheapen itself. Paul C One almost does not know where to start with this teleology. What is the status of this 'need' which is taken to govern the labour content of gold? The 'need' of the capitalist to extort the maximum surplus labour from any amount of fresh labour added, is characterisic of all capitalist production...in the case of the money commodity the total value added is vital since this presents the gold owner with the capacity to exchange it with more products, and so 'enrich' themselves with more use values. "the need to compress as much human labour as possible into each ounce" Since when have 'needs' been casually effective for science?( Well this question might take us back to the question of 'social science' versus 'natural science', are you proposing that there is no difference?) The high labour content required to produce gold does not stem from any kind of need but from its high atomic weight, this means that relatively little of it is produced in supernova. These supernova occurring more than 4 billion years ago were hardly influenced by any supposed needs of the capitalist system. But this contradicts your point below that more technology could/would be applied and so, (I assume that is the aim), gold could be extracted more easily, more cheaply. Why would the 'manager', I guess you mean the owners, want to exchange an ounce of gold for fewer other goods? Then we hear that gold is not in competition with any other commodity for its role as money. Gold here becomes a social subject engaging in competition. (???? Your second sentence stands in direct contradiction to the first... I clearly said NOT, and you repeated the word... it does not today compete in practice, although other metals have had to be displaced in the history of the money commodity. Why would the value of gold be brought down intentionally by its possessor? The value of all other products is reduced because the business man tries to compete better for the market. Gold producers have always struggled to form a global monopoly of gold supply to prevent such a disaster for them ) Competition may occur between capitalist firms to secure larger shares of a market, it does not occur between chemical elements. ( Dear Paul C, blustering accusations of 'teleology' cannot conceal the fact that you are here simply being silly! one might as well say that since margerine contains chemical elements no competition occurs between its producers)) Now given that multiple firms are engaged in gold production they have the same incentive as any other to reduce their labour costs. ( Any other gold producer, or any other non money commodity producer?) Indeed even a monopoly producer of gold would have an incentive to reduce labour input to production. The manager of a gold mine does not say - never mind about cost cutting and reducing employment since 'gold is not in competition with silver'.No he will try and reduce the number of workers employed to do a task just like the manager of a copper mine, or a tin mine would. Why this comparison? Tin is regarded as a laughable and unacceptable substitute for gold as money, and copper has at best served as small , light weight , change. We are talking about THE money commodity, against which all other commodities must measure up, compare themselves, whatever the practical inventiveness of bankers and governments to overcome its many inconveniences on a daily basis. Why should I debase the currency by clipping hours from its production!! You don't seem to understand the differentia specifica of the golden commodity. The gold mining capitalist will extend the working day, intensify labour and pay as little as possible in wages. His cost cutting is indeed enthusiastically carried out as long as it is the life force of the worker that is reduced, absorbed recklessly into the product, but Mr Oppenheimer and his gang will not willingly to dilute the labour content of the product itself.
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