[OPE-L:2017] Re: Re: Re: A possible paradox in the theory of value

From: Allin Cottrell (cottrell@ricardo.ecn.wfu.edu)
Date: Mon Jan 03 2000 - 21:38:58 EST

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On Sun, 2 Jan 2000, Paul Cockshott wrote:

> The question is not one of double counting but whether one
> treats the costs of reproducing labour as part of the value
> of what it produces. If the costs of training enter into the
> value of the product, so should the costs of feeding.

My tendency is conceive of values in the first instance as
planning parameters -- a reasonable first approximation to the
"true cost" of producing things -- and to leave as an empirical
question, the degree to which prices in capitalist economies
will reflect values (though with an a priori presumption that
labour values "will out" to a fair extent.)

>From this point of view I doubt whether the costs of feeding
should be included -- unless it were the case that producing
more of commodity X would require the "production" (and hence
feeding) of more workers. Practically, producing more of X will
usually involve producing less of Y (reallocating labour), with
the total feeding cost remaining the same. That is, the workers
have to be fed, regardless of what they're producing. In
neoclassical terms, the feeding is not an opportunity cost.

One could argue for exceptions: if a particular production
process involves exceptional exertion and hence exceptional
feeding, then one would have to budget the extra food as part of
the cost of producing that item.

Allin Cottrell.

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