[OPE-L:2278] Re: value-form theories

From: Gerald Levy (glevy@PRATT.EDU)
Date: Sun Jan 23 2000 - 11:07:24 EST

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Re Fred's [OPE-L:2277]:

> Thus, the "core of the problem" is that the reduction of heterogenous
> labor to homogenous, abstract labor (independently of prices) is a

Perhaps the "core of the problem" is rather the belief that there is an
"independence" of abstract labour from prices.

Let's consider this proposition:

1) Within the commodity-form, use-value, value, and the value-form are
necessarily linked. To assert that abstract labour is "independent" of
price is to *sever the connection between value and the value-form* since
the value-form must necessarily come to be expressed as money under
capitalism. If it was the case that abstract labour was independent of
price, then it would also be the case that value doesn't have to appear
through the value-form.

2) Exchange is the only process whereby the private, concrete labour of
individuals becomes validated (socially constituted) as social, abstract
labour. There is thus, in this sense, no "independence" of abstract
labour and price.

Of course, it could be suggested that the nature of the capitalist labor
process tends in reality to produce abstract labour in the sense that
there is a de-skilling and homogenization of concrete labours that occurs
with technological change. And there is some reason to believe that this
_is_ an actual social process whereby increasingly over time "generic"
workers are required who have average skills (of course, the "average" can
change over time: e.g. unlike the 19th Century, it is assumed by
capitalists in just about all parts of the world now that workers have
basic reading and writing skills) and average physical abilities (e.g.
dexterity, endurance; generic body parts - like 2 legs and 2 arms)
Despite this aspect of the labour process, it is *only* in the
market that the standard for what socially necessary labor is becomes
constituted (and also changed). This is because exchange establishes --
actualizes; makes real -- what is socially necessary labor and value.

In solidarity, Jerry

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