Re: [OPE] intermission: value of knowledge

From: Paula <>
Date: Sun Dec 27 2009 - 19:59:07 EST

Dave wrote:
> The necessary condition then is that labour is compared.

What is compared under capitalism is not labor as such, but the amount of
time socially required to make each kind of good. The system of commodity
production is the necessary condition for this comparison to be made on a
regular basis and 'behind the back' of the producers.

I came across a nice story that illustrates some of the problems in
measuring labor outside this system. As told by Chris Frith in his wonderful
book Making Up the Mind: How the Brain Creates Our Mental World, "When
Whistler exhibited his [1875 painting] Nocturne in Black and Gold: The
Falling Rocket, Ruskin wrote that the artist had been impudent to ask 1,000
guineas for 'flinging a pot of pain in the public's face.' When Whistler
sued him for libel, he stated in court that the painting had taken only a
'few hours.' Ruskin's lawyer said: 'You asked 1,000 guineas for a few hours
work?' Whistler replied: 'No, I asked it for the knowledge of a lifetime.'"


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Received on Sun Dec 27 20:06:09 2009

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