[OPE-L:5814] RE: commodity money

Allin Cottrell (cottrell@wfu.edu)
Wed, 10 Dec 1997 19:06:05 -0500 (EST)

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On Wed, 10 Dec 1997 Alejandro wrote:

> 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
> comparison.

I disagree. I wasn't intending to make a metaphysical point
("You can never step into the same river twice"), but was
rather saying that over the long haul, the nature of work
can change sufficiently that comparisons are blurred. For
instance, if (on average) work has become less onerous since
the mid-nineteenth century, then a statement that a certain
sort of commodity now takes only 20 percent of the labour
time to produce that it did then, may understate the
reduction in "effort" required to produce the thing.

Allin Cottrell
Department of Economics
Wake Forest University