[OPE-L:5808] RE: commodity money

Wed, 10 Dec 1997 12:25:30

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Allin C. wrote:

> I dont think Paul is denying that you can compare the hours
> of labour-time required to produce some commodity X in
> different periods, directly. But there are limits to this,
> if the periods are widely separated in time. For one thing,
> the "menu" of commodities produced changes. For another,
> since the nature of work itself changes over time, its not
> altogether clear how meaningful it is to compare hours of
> labour in 1848 with hours of labour in 1997.

I think the characteristics of labor-time Allin mentions as obstacles
to make intertemporal comparisons of value (the specific kind of
commodities produced and the features of labor-process) correspond to
the concrete aspect of labor. However, the comparison makes sense
only if we focus in the abstract aspect of labor, in which all these
characteristics are, indeed, "abstracted", put aside.
In any case, if Allins argument is right, we dont need to go back to
1848 to deny the intertemporal comparison of value. A change either in
a labor-process or in the use-values produced between January, 1997
and December, 1997 would suffice to make impossible such a

Alejandro Ramos