# Re: [OPE-L] Abstraction

From: Howard Engelskirchen (howarde@TWCNY.RR.COM)
Date: Thu Jun 14 2007 - 12:03:01 EDT

```Hi Ian,

No of course.  The way you present it doesn't make sense.

But that example can't happen.  All you have is an aggregate.  You can't
start out saying how much is skilled worth compared to unskilled in the
abstract.  The point has no meaning in the abstract.  The comparison of
skilled to unskilled only takes meaning in relation to how much each is
going to take from the aggregate relative to what they brought to it.

In other words, all the labor there is is thrown into a pot and we stir.
Now how much labor do the products brought to market represent?  They don't
represent the labor that brought them to market as such.  Instead they
represent a portion of the pot.  How much of the pot they represent depends
on their relative weight.  If labor S is skilled and represents 4 times the
amount of labor U, and there's just the two of them in the pot, then S will
bring 2 hours to the pot and take out 8, and U will bring 8 hours to the pot
and take out 2.  The total in the pot is 10.

Howard

----- Original Message -----
From: "Ian Hunt" <ian.hunt@FLINDERS.EDU.AU>
To: <OPE-L@SUS.CSUCHICO.EDU>
Sent: Thursday, June 14, 2007 3:47 AM
Subject: Re: [OPE-L] Abstraction

> Sorry if that was obscure. Suppose you have two workers, one skilled
> the other unskilled, who each work 2 hours. The sum of their concrete
> labours will be 4 hours. But if 2 hours of concrete skilled labour
> equals 8 hours of abstract labour, then the sum of the abstract
> labour will be 10 hours, which is not equal to the sum of the
> concrete labours. But maybe I misunderstood the proposed way of
> dealing with skilled labour,
> Cheers,
> Ian
>
> >What about the point in the other post, that there is a mismatch between
the
> >aggregate totals?  I didn't get that at all either.
> >
> >Howard
> >
> >
> >----- Original Message -----
> >From: "Ian Hunt" <ian.hunt@FLINDERS.EDU.AU>
> >To: <OPE-L@SUS.CSUCHICO.EDU>
> >Sent: Wednesday, June 13, 2007 9:47 PM
> >Subject: Re: [OPE-L] Abstraction
> >
> >
> >>  Dear Howard,
> >>  I only meant that you cannot get an ordinarily skilled person to do
> >>  the work of a surgeon over a longer period of time, as you can get an
> >>  ordinarily skilled person to do the work of a bricklayer, though over
> >>  a longer period of time. Of course, surgical services are brought to
> >>  market like everything else (in the US at least) and thus hare
> >>  equivalent in monetary terms to so many hours of ordinarily skilled
> >>  work: but this equation is not explained by a reduction of surgical
> >>  labour to a multiple of ordinary labour, it is the other way round,
> >>  Cheers,
> >>  Ian
> >>
> >>  >Hi Ian,
> >>  >
> >>  >I don't understand the opening sentence here, either.  Tins of
bootblack
> >can
> >>  >be exchanged for castles, recall.  They can also be exchanged for
> >>  >complicated surgery.  This is not about the character of the skill
but
> >the
> >>  >fact that it is taken to market.  Market is the night that turns all
> >labor
> >>  >black.  For this reason the news articles Rakesh offered are
completely
> >>  >relevant.  As a result of competition goods or services of the same
> >quality
> >>  >will tend to sell for the same price.
> >>  >
> >>  >Howard
> >>  >
> >>  >
> >>  >
> >>  >
> >>  >----- Original Message -----
> >>  >From: "Ian Hunt" <ian.hunt@FLINDERS.EDU.AU>
> >>  >To: <OPE-L@SUS.CSUCHICO.EDU>
> >>  >Sent: Tuesday, June 12, 2007 11:55 PM
> >>  >Subject: Re: [OPE-L] Abstraction
> >>  >
> >>  >
> >>  >>  I don't think any number of unskilled labour hours can perform the
> >>  >>  work of a skilled surgeon, but for that reason I don't think that
the
> >>  >>  hours worked by surgeons etc count as expenditures of labour
power,
> >>  >>  defined as the group of skills common to all human labour: surgery
is
> >>  >>  the expenditure of a skill that is not shared across people to a
> >>  >>  higher or lesser degree. On the other hand, it is arguable that an
> >>  >>  amateur plumber can do plumbing work but at the cost of a lot of
> >>  >>  hours finding out the regulations, planning the work, and doing
the
> >>  >>  job slowly (the ratio might perhaps be 8 to 1, so nearly everyone
> >>  >>  hires a plumber, not to mention those jobs where the work has to
be
> >>  >>  inspected and by regulation must be done by a qualified plumber -
so
> >>  >>  bricklaying might be a better example)
> >>  >>
> >>  >>  >Marx says that commodities are commensurate in the market, but
there
> >>  >>  >is no way to
> >>  >>  >get behind the market to get a handle on the abstract labor
> >>  >>  >measures.  How many
> >>  >>  >hours of abstract labor does a surgeon represent.  Can 20 or 50
> >>  >>  >unskilled labor
> >>  >>  >perform the same procedure?
> >>  >>  >  --
> >>  >>  >Michael Perelman
> >>  >>  >Economics Department
> >>  >>  >California State University
> >>  >>  >Chico, CA 95929
> >>  >>  >
> >>  >>  >Tel. 530-898-5321
> >>  >>  >E-Mail michael at ecst.csuchico.edu
> >>  >>  >michaelperelman.wordpress.com
> >>  >>
> >>  >>
> >>  >>  --
> >>  >>  Associate Professor Ian Hunt,
> >>  >>  Dept  of Philosophy, School of Humanities,
> >>  >>  Director, Centre for Applied Philosophy,
> >>  >>  Flinders University of SA,
> >>  >>  Humanities Building,
> >>  >>  Bedford Park, SA, 5042,
> >>  >>  Ph: (08) 8201 2054 Fax: (08) 8201 2784
> >>
> >>
> >>  --
> >>  Associate Professor Ian Hunt,
> >>  Dept  of Philosophy, School of Humanities,
> >>  Director, Centre for Applied Philosophy,
> >>  Flinders University of SA,
> >>  Humanities Building,
> >  > Bedford Park, SA, 5042,
> >>  Ph: (08) 8201 2054 Fax: (08) 8201 2784
>
>
> --
> Associate Professor Ian Hunt,
> Dept  of Philosophy, School of Humanities,
> Director, Centre for Applied Philosophy,
> Flinders University of SA,
> Humanities Building,
> Bedford Park, SA, 5042,
> Ph: (08) 8201 2054 Fax: (08) 8201 2784
```

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