Re: [OPE-L] Why aren't non-labourers sources of value?

From: Gerald_A_Levy@MSN.COM
Date: Thu Apr 07 2005 - 08:00:24 EDT

> The difference between labour / labour-power and machine
> input / machine-power (or animal activity / animal-power) is that
> labour is productively creative whereas machines are not, and
> animals are strictly limited in this regard (the creative -- as
> opposed to innate -- production of tools by animals is more
> or less rudimentary, where it occurs at all).


I think this underestimates the level of creativity that certain non-
human species are capable of.   You, obviously, have never
had an opportunity to observe a beluga whale in the wild.  The
military of several nations (including the US and the former USSR)
has long realized this and has used cetaceans for a number of
purposes, including sophisticated ('sonar'-equipped) security guards
at naval bases and for the placement of explosives on underwater
targets.  The (human chauvinist) position you advance, though, does
seem to be consistent with Marx's position.

> Ian, if robots one day became able to creatively produce
> to the extent of humans, then they would have become labourers,
> with social relations of production, and labour time would retain
> its relevance.

That wouldn't make the robots, or animals held in captivity which
are required to perform,  wage-workers.  The social relations of
production of *slavery* might, though, be extended to analyze these
cases.  After all, aren't the animals forcibly held in zoos enslaved?
Presumably, the intelligent robots would also have human 'overseers'
(programmers, maintainers) who could ensure compliance. (NB: the
above is in reference to the question of 'who' can be able to labour
and produce, not create value.]

In solidarity, Jerry

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