[OPE] FWD: doctors, barbers and vets

From: Paul Cockshott <wpc@dcs.gla.ac.uk>
Date: Wed Oct 13 2010 - 10:33:08 EDT

--- original message ---
From: "Paul Cockshott" <wpc@dcs.gla.ac.uk>
Subject: Re: [OPE] doctors, barbers and vets
Date: 13th October 2010
Time: 3:01:33 pm

Ok it is just a difference in terminology, by value you mean statistial expected value, or meanexchange value. That is one reason why I often use the phrase labour value to make clear what I mean.
As to whether a nation gets richer by employing doctors, I suppose it depends if they are good doctors. If they prvent premature deaths, and especially if they reduce infant mortality, they clearly increase the productive power of society. A society has to be fairly rich to afford many doctors, but the same could be said of naval architects or electrical engineers, all are expensive to train.
--- original message ---
From: "Paula" <Paula_cerni@msn.com>
Subject: Re: [OPE] doctors, barbers and vets
Date: 12th October 2010
Time: 10:52:07 pm

Paul C wrote:
"I think part of the dispute ... is terminological ... In practical terms
what a surgeon and a veterinary surgeon do is very similar. They differ in
whether their patients can be marketed, so even if all their successful
patients embody additional value only some have exchange value ..."

Yes, we do seem to use the terms differently. Value seems to me to be the
more fundamental category, abstracted from all the accidents (eg supply and
demand) that go into exchange value. So I would say that a healed patient
(human or animal) embodies the labor of the healer, but not necessarily that
they have value. For them to have value they have to be commodities, they
have to be goods produced for market exchang -, eg slaves or cattle.

Paul B, thanks for the text.
I agree with the sentiment expressed in the last paragraph, concerning the
need not to 'hide' the distinction between productive and unproductive
But we differ on the specifics. It follows from my approach, for example, as
I've been saying, that I do not consider doctors productive (of value, that
is, as opposed to use-value).

It seems to me that a nation does not increase its wealth by employing more
doctors, but, on the contrary, it is able to employ more doctors the more
wealth it produces. This relation does not change if we substitute 'value'
for 'wealth', ie, if we refer specifically to capitalist society.


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