[OPE-L:2217] Re: value-form theories

From: Gerald Levy (glevy@PRATT.EDU)
Date: Wed Jan 19 2000 - 02:39:56 EST

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Re Geert's [OPE-L:2214]:

> Labour is the only one source of value added. Jerry Levy in his 2067
> is right that (in VFS 69-70) this is arrived at by process of elimination.
> Then Jerry quests about the connection (in VFS) between surplus-value
> and surplus labour. My answer would be: S = ml-wl (and -- forgetting
> about interest and rent -- profit R = ml-wl). `Eliptically', but perhaps
> also when adressing an audience of labour unionists (below more on
> this), I might say that socially profit is determined by surplus labour,
> as it is `casually'. However, in theoretical debate I would refrain from
> saying that as it risks being read in a labour-embodied way (though, I
> assume, not by you Jerry). The point is that there is no sound measure
> for the `eliptic' statement. One cannot add up labour and machines.

If you say that "Labour is the only one source of value added", then why
can one not also say that (ideal) value-added can be measured by
(socially-necessary) labour *time*? It is true that you can't add-up
labor and machines, but one can at least in theory add-up the labor time
required to produce commodities (both means of consumption and means of
production). Of course, there are thorny issues here (e.g. how to add-up
simple and complex labor time?; how is the [dead] labour time that was
expended at some point in the past counted in terms of today's [living]
labour time, especially when there is technological change in constant
fixed capital?).

[Short digression: I read the following as support for a non-TSS position
on the valuation of constant fixed capital. Is that correct? Please
explain. Here's the quote: "Nevertheless, it is the *current ideal
value* of means of production (as related to the current value of similar
means of production, which in them also represents previous value-added)
which is in all or in part transmitted in the current production process."
(VFS, 69)].

Since I don't think that value is fully constituted as value unless
and until (ideal) commodities are exchanged for money, I suspect that
there isn't a whole lot of difference here between our interpretations of
this question.

In solidarity, Jerry

PS: Chris wrote in [2216], "... what Jerry often observes, that there are
different VF theories." I would say that this is a strength rather than a
weakness of VF theory. Where there is disagreement, there is vitality.

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