Subject: [OPE-L:1686] Re: Re: RE: Re: value-form theories and the Uno-school?
From: Paul Cockshott (email@example.com)
Date: Tue Nov 16 1999 - 07:15:22 EST
At 01:05 16/11/99 +0800, you wrote:
>But now i have a question about your view of abstract labour as an
>ahistorical concept. Is this not confusing concepts of 'abstract labour'
>and 'social labour'? By 'abstract labour' i mean an abstraction from
>use-values that takes place only when commodities are exchanged.
That is not an abstraction about labour, but draws in commodities
which are quite another matter.
What differentiates abstract labour from concrete labour is that it
is labour considered as potentially applicable to multiple concrete
forms. When I sweep the floor I perform one concrete labour, when
I cook a meal I perform another, but both are uses of my labour
power considered in the abstract. The ability of humans, and to a
lesser extent other animals, to switch their activity between
different forms is the reality upon which the concept of abstract
It is not necessary for the product of labour to assume the form
of a commodity for one to be able to abstract from concrete
forms of labour. We are the universal robots!
>'commodities' i mean products that are produced only under social
>conditions of division of labour and private property. By 'social labour'
>i mean the necessary distribution of labour among individuals in any
>society (capitalist or other; such as the distribution of labour between
>catching beaver and dear, or between producing cars and sausages). In this
>sense, I hold to my original statement that 'abstract labour' is the form
>that social labour takes under capitalism (only this time, i'm not
>attributing that view to you!)
You have redefined abstract labour to be not labour but some property
of commodities. All toil and effort have vanished.
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