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

From: Andrew Brown (A.Brown@LUBS.LEEDS.AC.UK)
Date: Thu Apr 07 2005 - 10:05:41 EDT

I agree with all of what you say. Did I say otherwise?
Many thanks
-----Original Message-----
From: OPE-L [mailto:OPE-L@SUS.CSUCHICO.EDU] On Behalf Of Nicola Taylor
Sent: 07 April 2005 14:51
Subject: Re: [OPE-L] Why aren't non-labourers sources of value?
Andy, Ian and comrades
as usual I find myself aligned with Jerry on this issue.  What is
important in Marx is the fact that labourers sell their *labour power*
on markets.  They do not sell themselves.  Moreover, the *labour power*
paid for in the wage must be converted by capitalists into *labour* - a
process that is by no means assured.
Where people, animals and machines are *owned* the capital-labour
relation cannot exist, in the very real sense that the sale of labour
power does not take place; in relations of slavery, for example, workers
do not willing sell their labour but on the contrary are traded body and
soul against their will.  The slave owner may, if he choses, work his
slave to death just as he may work a donkey to death. (imo) Marx's key
insight into the social relations of capital is that workers trade their
labour-power freely.  i.e. the crucial distinction is not between
humans, land, donkeys etc but between living *labour* and the *labour
power* purchased for wages.

Gerald_A_Levy@MSN.COM wrote:
        > The difference between labour / labour-power and machine
        > input / machine-power (or animal activity / animal-power) is
        > labour is productively creative whereas machines are not, and
        > animals are strictly limited in this regard (the creative --
        > 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
        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
        has long realized this and has used cetaceans for a number of
        purposes, including sophisticated ('sonar'-equipped) security
        at naval bases and for the placement of explosives on underwater
        targets. The (human chauvinist) position you advance, though,
        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
        > with social relations of production, and labour time would
        > its relevance.
        That wouldn't make the robots, or animals held in captivity
        are required to perform, wage-workers. The social relations of
        production of *slavery* might, though, be extended to analyze
        cases. After all, aren't the animals forcibly held in zoos
        Presumably, the intelligent robots would also have human
        (programmers, maintainers) who could ensure compliance. (NB: the
        above is in reference to the question of 'who' can be able to
        and produce, not create value.]
        In solidarity, Jerry

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