[OPE] "lies, damned lies, and underconsumptionist statistics"

From: Jurriaan Bendien <adsl675281@telfort.nl>
Date: Tue Sep 28 2010 - 04:21:33 EDT


I think for Marx and Engels, what has "value" is the products of social
labour - these products represent relative quantities of human labour-time.
Social labour is understood as labour which produces a result for others,
not for oneself.

Social labour can produce goods or services. The distinction between the two
may not be easy to draw. Services may consist of supplying a specific
tangible product, or they may consist of living labour-services or living
activities. The transformation of a service into a commodity presupposes
that the service can be identified, separated out and accounted for as a
distinct product or activity.

Money-prices may express a value relationship, a value proportion among
products. But money-prices do not necessarily have to express
value-relationships at all, as Marx himself says. I have explained why this
is so, in two wiki's: on "value-form" and "real prices and ideal prices".

Strictly speaking, in Marx's theory "the value of money" is the cost of
production of money, but in the case of fiat money (fiduciary currency), the
"value of money" is equal to the exchange-value of products for which the
money can trade, which is influenced by the amount of income that can be
earnt from owning the money.

The crude theories of the New Marxist Exploiter Class about "unproductive
sectors" understand nothing about the topic - they are not grounded in Marx
nor grounded in an empirical understanding of reality, but rather in
discriminatory prejudices. It is best to leave those aside.

What Marx means with productive labour ion capitalist society is essentially
labour which creates a net addition to the value of capital. However, an
ambiguity of capital accumulation is, that such an accumulation may consist
of net growth of the capital stock, or a redistribution of the existing
stock. So what is productive labour to one capitalist, may not be to
another, or from the social point of view. A gain can be a total net gain,
or a gain at the expense of the loss of someone else.

The physicalist theory of value (a mechanical materialist theory of value)
is essentially a type of Ricardian "embodied" labour theory of value,
according to which the value of the commodity is expressed by the direct
living labour performed to produce it and said to be incorporated into it,
plus the value of materials it contains, expressible in quantities of
indirect (dated, past or dead) labour. It sounds sexy, but it can be proved
to be a false theory.

Marx rejected the physicalist theory of value, on three main grounds.

*First, Marx regards the attribution of value as purely social - economic
value contains "not an atom of matter" as he says.

*Second, the value of products refers according to Marx to the relevant
quantities of labour which are currently necessary to perform them. This has
nothing to do with Sraffa's idea of "dated labour" because it does not
concern "the value which a commodity contains" ("the past and present labour
incorporated into it" but rather "the current social valuation of the
commodity", i.e. the total quantity of labour-time currently required to
produce it, a synchronic and not a diachronic reality.

*Third, the valorization process, by which the value of capital is
simultaneously affirmed, preserved and increased, can only occur by uniting
the factors of production in the production system according to the social
relations of production. The material factors of production are merely one
element of this.

Paul Cockshott and his circle want to emphasize that the production of
material, tangible things is the basis for all other production and
distribution occurring in the economy. It is just that this "material
production", regarded as the productive activity, could not even occur
without much non-material production.


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Received on Tue Sep 28 04:23:01 2010

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