Re: [OPE-L] The Use-Value & SNLT Question

From: Jerry Levy (Gerald_A_Levy@MSN.COM)
Date: Tue Apr 10 2007 - 15:48:58 EDT

> > In the passage I cited earlier (Vol. 1, Penguin ed., p. 303) Marx
> > recognizes this:
> > "... all wasteful consumption of raw material or instruments of
> > labour is strictly forbidden, because what is wasted in this way
> > represents a superfluous expenditure of quantities of
> > objectified labour, labour that does not count in the product or
> > enter into its value".

> It seems to me that Marx is talking here of wastage that is over
> and above the "socially necessary" rate.

Hi Allin:

It seems to me that you didn't take note of how the excerpt above
begins with  *all*.

> But if not, then IMO
> he's flat wrong.  If it's an engineering fact that the cheapest
> way (in terms of total labour-time) to produce memory chips is a
> method that produces some duds, the labour that is revealed ex
> post as having gone into the duds is clearly socially necessary.

It depends, once again, by what you mean by 'socially necessary'.
The Research & Development (R&D) labour that preceded the
production of the chips would be thought by the firm to be
'necessary labor' -- certainly it was a precondition for the production
of the chip.  That doesn't by itself make R&D labor time SNLT,
does it? If so, should we _also_ treat the R&D labor time which
resulted in _no_ invention or innovation being produced as SNLT?
I don't see how or why.  Firms in particular branches of
production must engage in R&D but that doesn't mean that the
research will pan out: the labor thus counts in the same way as
the labour  of  gold miners who find no gold (or other marketable
good): it doesn't (count).

It is true that a certain amount of wastage in a particular branch of
production may come to be considered to be customary, but this is
related to other questions, such as whether the labor cost to reduce
the wastage of materials  is greater or lesser than the resulting
savings in material cost.  This has environmental implications.

In solidarity, Jerry

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