Subject: [OPE-L:1748] Re: Re: Re: value form
From: clyder (email@example.com)
Date: Fri Nov 26 1999 - 11:26:38 EST
> I THINK THAT YOU MISUNDERSTOOD. MY CONCERN IS NOT TO DIFFERENTIATE
> PRIVATE AND SOCIAL LABOUR, THAT IS OBVIOUS. INCIDENTALLY, TO CLAIM THAT
> COOKING A MEAL AND SWEEPING THE FLOOR ARE MANIFESTATIONS OF 'ABSTRACT
> PRIVATE LABOUR' IS A BIT LIKE CLAIMING THAT HAVING A SANDWICH AND EATING A
> CHOCOLATE ARE MANIFESTATIONS OF ABSTRACT SATIATION OF HUNGER.
There are two distinctions here
1.private versus social labour
2.abstract versus concrete labour
the two axes are orthogonal.
The abstract concrete distinction is just like the one you rather deride
eating sandwiches and eating chocolate as abstract satiation of hunger.
There is nothing funny about this comparison. It is exactly what is done
when tables of calorie content are published for chocolate and sandwiches -
they are comensurated on their abstract ability to satisfy hunger.
I see no reason why this comparison invalidates the concept of abstract
It appears to me that you are not keeping the two axes above orthogonal.
> MY POINT WAS THAT ABSTRACT LABOUR IS THE FORM NECESSARILY TAKEN BY SOCIAL
> LABOUR IN CAPITALISM.
This is confused. In what sense is abstract labour a form?
All abstract labour must take on the form of some concrete labour to exist,
concrete labours such as cooking, driving, bricklaying are the forms
in which concrete labour must exist. All labour whether social or
private has to exist in some concrete form in order to do anything,
this is as true of capitalism as of any other society.
Social labour under capitalism typically takes the form of waged labour
but this a juridical form, which engenders a third axis
3. waged versus unwaged labour.
This too is orthogonal to the previous ones, as one can have
waged labour that is both private( the work of a private servant)
and social ( the work of a factory operative).
>WHAT I WAS ASKING WAS, IF SOCIAL LABOUR COULD EXIST
> DIRECTLY, WHY USE THE CONCEPT OF ABSTRACT LABOUR?
Because the axes are orthogonal.
> >>Third, the form of value (price, money, etc) is also met in great many
> >>societies. Is this connected with abstract labour, in your view?
> >I believe it is connected with abstract labour, yes. As a working
> >I would assume that prices in pre capitalist societies were also
> >more or less strictly, by a law of value.
> I'M NOT QUITE CERTAIN HOW SIMPLY QUOTING MARX'S COMMENT ON 'ROBINSONADES'
> DEALS WITH MY QUESTION
He was not just making a comment on robinsonades. He says quite
>relations between Robinson and the objects that form this wealth of his
>own creation, are here so simple and clear as to be intelligible without
>exertion, even to Mr. Sedley Taylor. And yet those relations contain all
>that is essential to the determination of value.
I.e. the relations essential to the determination of value are relations
between Robinsons own abstract private labour times. The fact that
these value relations appear in the mystified form of prices in
a commodity producing society does not alter the fact that the
underlying relations are logically and historically prior to commodity
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