Re: [OPE-L] price of production/supply price/value/pensions

From: Paul Cockshott (wpc@DCS.GLA.AC.UK)
Date: Fri Jan 27 2006 - 04:36:40 EST

But for the purposes of the pension system Bob is in fact five years
older. Tell Jim that he is really the same age as Bob as he must labor
five more years. If it's a mine in Bolivia or West Virginia, he
may not even make it. Because the lie is a matter of life and death,
the distorted ages are more real, of greater practical importance
than what you are taking to be real ages of these two chaps.I am saying
the ages on which the pension system acts determines the real age of
these two guys.

In other words, value as simple price is a magnitude of no real
importance. Just
as for the purposes of the pension system the so called real age is
not important.
In fact value as simple price is of much less importance that total
value and total surplus value.
In bourgeois society, the value of a commodity is its price of
multiplied by the value of money.
The liquidity of a pension scheme depends critically on
the true age of participants, not their socially recorded age.
You cant live longer by lying about your age.

Both pensions and value relate to the allocation of the
human lifetime - the so called pensions crisis derives from
the decline in the flow of new value relative to the size
of the working population. The dependence of social production
on the allocation of living labour remains even when it
is hidden by monetary mediations.

Thus to vulgar economic commentators the pensions problem
comes because people are not saving enough - not putting away
enough for their old age. The reality is that in any given
year it is the current labour of the extant working population
that supports the whole population. Pensioners are not fed
and clothed out of 'savings' performed 40 years ago - they
do not eat tinned food that was put into store then, nor
wear clothes that were sealed in plastic in 1970.

Money generates the illusion that your savings now can
feed you in the future, but what appears true to the individual
does not hold at the level of society. I think that some of
the confusion about the difference between value and exchange
value stems from a similar individualistic standpoint. From
the standpoint of the individual firm selling price/market price
is all important - to them the value of something is what
they can obtain for selling it. At its best, classical political
economy broke with this individualist perspective. In a 
different way, Keynes also broke from the individualist perspective
in addressing issues like national levels of savings, pensions etc.

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