[OPE-L:2070] Re: value-form theories

From: Gerald Levy (glevy@PRATT.EDU)
Date: Sun Jan 09 2000 - 15:13:02 EST

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---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Sun, 9 Jan 2000 18:20:24 -0000
From: Michael J Williams <michael@williamsmj.screaming.net>

----- Original Message -----
From: Gerald Levy <glevy@pratt.edu>
To: <ope-l@galaxy.csuchico.edu>
Sent: Sunday, January 09, 2000 1:16 PM
Subject: [OPE-L:2067] Re: value-form theories

> Re Geert's [OPE-L:2062]:

> it is indeed made clear in VFS that labour is the only
> one source of "value-added" (68-70). It is unclear, though, what
> connection there is in VFS between surplus-value ("value-added") and
> surplus labor time (and between paid labor time and unpaid labor time).

What is the connection between surplus-value and surplus (unpaid) labour
time? Check VFS: 70:
 'The argument that only labour potentially creates value-added should in no
way be read to imply that value-added is in some way proportional to labour
(for which at this level an aggregative measure is anyway lacking), as a
labour-embodied theory of value would have it. It is only the validation of
labour and its products in the market that determines where and how much
value(-added) is actualised.'

The basic reason for this is systemic: quantitative determination must await
the introduction of money, valorisation and capital. It is only at the
moment of market association and so prices that labour is constituted as
abstract labour (and at the same time, the ideal - i.e. precommensurated -
money expression of labour, m, is constituted). Thus is aggregate
value-added, Y=ml (VFS ch.2para.16), also constituted.

> The justification for the claim that (abstract) labour is the
> source of "value-added" is: "It is because labour is the only element
> that takes on the form of value whilst it is not produced within the
> capitalist sphere of production that it potentially creates value-added"
> (69). This claim is justified, it appears to me, by process of
> elimination (69-70).

Is the justification that L is the sole source of surplus-value derived by a
process of elimination? Well, maybe. But it is not the simplistic process of
which Marx is sometimes accused.
Labour is the only socially necessary 'factor' (of use-value production)
grasped by the value form (the wage) and produced outside capitalist
commodity production. To this as follows:
a) Labour power is produced - but not primarily 'capitalistically'
b) The price of labour-power is not systematically related to it's
(non-existent) price of production. The 'supply price' contains no
value-added. The household (site of creation, physical reproduction and
primary socialisation of labour 'into' labour power) is not a firm. People
are not produced as commodities by socially validated abstract labour.

This seems to be the sticking point - see the several extended OPE-L
discussions of the VF notion that Labour Power is not a Commodity.

Comradely greetings (especially to Geert!)

Dr Michael Williams
Economics and Social Sciences
De Montfort University
Milton Keynes
fax: 0870 133 1147
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