Re: [OPE-L] the "unequal exchange" controversy

From: Jerry Levy (Gerald_A_Levy@MSN.COM)
Date: Thu Dec 29 2005 - 05:27:21 EST

Hi Alejandro,

Thanks for the references, but I am already familiar with many
UE references.  What I'm concerned with is an empirical 
measurement issue which arises from the fact that standards
for what are *socially  necessary* labor times differ in different
social formations as a consequence of different histories, cultures,
and class struggles.  That is, what is SNLT varies spatially
(and temporally): there are differences in average skill and 
labor intensity in different branches of production and 
social formations.  An analogy: the issue that I am raising
is similar to but not the same as  conversion and measurement
issues that come up with reference to international comparisons 
of GDP because of different meanings of GDP used 
internationally.   There are statistical ways of dealing with those if one
wants to compare GDP accounts.  How is it done with reference
to differences in SNLT -- recalling, for instance,  that there isn't a lot
of  reliable non-anecdotal data on differences in labor intensity?
It is all well and good to assert that international differences in SNLT 
are  "converted" in practice on international markets, but that 
doesn't address the empirical measurement issue that I am 
raising.  In the literature on UE this issue seems to be mostly
-- explicitly or implicitly -- assumed away and the labor time 
performed in different nations is assumed to be of  the same 
average skill and intensity.  

In  solidarity, Jerry

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