[OPE-L:5447] Re: [ANDREW K] Re:Luxuries in the New Solution

andrew kliman (Andrew_Kliman@classic.msn.com)
Tue, 9 Sep 1997 08:58:02 -0700 (PDT)

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A reply to Paul Cockshott's ope-l 5446.

Paul: "Andrew do your really expect us to take this stuff seriously?"

No, I've learned the hard way that you won't.

Paul: "You ignore all the other conditions that M[arx] set down, that labour
must be productive of value, must be socially necessary.

"In your example the labour produced a negative net product so was clearly not
socially necessary - society would have ended up with more grain if last years
harvest had not been resown this year."

I don't ignore these other conditions, I presuppose them. Please show me
textual evidence that Marx says that living labor does not produce value
unless a positive "net product" of every commodity is produced. (Would you
really have us believe that the production of negative value is a meaningful
concept in terms of Marx's theory?) Please show me textual evidence that Marx
says that living labor is ("clearly"!) not socially necessary unless a
positive "net product" of every commodity is produced.

In the absence of such evidence, you are merely redefining "value production"
and "socially necessary labor-time," just as you redefined "exploitation."
And you must, for consistency's sake. So you (and all consistent
simultaneists) wind up with a whole system of concepts that differs from

I had written: "The general case is actually very important, because, as Alan
Freeman stresses, in reality the Hawkins-Simon conditions are not met. 486
computers produce 586 computers instead of 486 computers, and so forth. Can
simultaneism even deal with this?"

Paul responds: "This is irrelevant in that the product in the case of the
computers is the computational power, not the particular pieces of silicon on
which it is embodied. There is clearly a net surplus of computational power
produced in the semi-conductor/computer industry."

Well, now the cat is out of the bag. Simultaneism's "physical quantities" are
not really physical quantities (pieces of silicon), but use-values
(computational power). So, as Alan has stressed, physicalism collapses to
utilitarianism. If you think about these questions seriously, you will
realize that your theory makes demand a crucial determinant of value.

Take another very simple example: in the economy as a whole, workers consume
u loaves of white bread at time t, and some of them go on to produce u - v
loaves of white bread, w loaves of whole wheat bread, x loaves of multigrain
bread, y bagels, and z scones at time t+1. How are you going to eliminate the
heterogeneity of use-values here? Say that they are not producing and
consuming breadstuffs, but calories? Count all breadstuffs as equal? Count a
bushel of oats used to make the multigrain bread as equal to a bushel of wheat
.. and then what? Or are you going to do what the input-output accounts
actually do, measure equivalence in terms of prices? In that case, you can't
use your "physical quantities" to explain prices, because you're explaining
prices by prices. (Note this well, Ajit.)

Andrew Kliman