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

From: Ian Wright (iwright@GMAIL.COM)
Date: Sat Apr 16 2005 - 15:06:25 EDT

Hi Ajit

> Now the present
> day Marxist value theorists, leaving aside their
> differences about how to measure value, claim that
> "value" is a definitional category, i.e., it is simply
> defined as "abstract socially necessary labor time"
> represented by A commodity, where "abstract" and
> "socially necessary labor" are measured in one way or
> the other. Thus in this case, the question is
> meaningless, since value is simply defined as
> labor-time and nothing else. 

In another post, I also objected to the idea that value can simply be
defined. But I introduced an argument for why value necessarily
represents abstract labour time: it does so because the flow pattern
of value controls the manifestation pattern of abstract labour, i.e.
there are regular causal relations between a representation (value)
and an object (abstract labour).

This is a different kind of explanation. We can observe the causal
relations between a thermostat and the temperature of a room, and
thereby ascribe objective semantics to the representational sub-states
of the thermostat (e.g., the position of the bi-metallic strip
represents the temperature of the room, and not, say, the number of
people in the room). Similarly, we can observe the causal relations
between forms of value and labour, and draw analogous conclusions
about what value can and cannot represent.

Clearly, this type of explanation is grounded in necessary causal
relations that occur through time, something that you may object to on
philosophical grounds.

Best wishes,


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