[OPE-L:5816] Re: commodity money

Paul Cockshott (wpc@CS.STRATH.AC.UK)
Thu, 11 Dec 1997 12:07:44 +0000

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aramos@aramos.bo wrote:

> I find difficult to understand this phrasing. What does mean a
> relation between "a commodity" and the "division of social labor"?
> This sounds to me like the relation between an "ice-cream" and a
> "financial portfolio". Paul, could you please clarify this idea?

The value of a commodity depends upon the amount of social
labour required to make it. If we say that an apple has
a value of 3mins 45 seconds, we are saying that a certain fraction
of the attention of the collective labourer had to be
allocated to the production of the apple for a certain
period of time. This involves the division of labour because
the working day of the collective labourer has to be divided
between a lot of different activities, and it is only by virtue
of this division that we can count up the time directly and
indirectly necessary to produce the apple.

> > Because of this there is no law of conservation of value across time.
> If this would be true, we cannot calculate neither the rate of
> surplus-value nor the profit rate. A capitalist advances $100 (=100
> hours of social-labor) in March and she sells the produced commodity
> in August for $120 (=120 hours). Was there a "conservation of value
> accross time", or not? I think the formula M-C ...P... C*-M* requires
> some kind of "conservation of value accross time".
It does not affect the rate of surplus value since this is
a flow ratio, nor does it affect the flow rate of profit, which
is what Marx is effectively calculating in Vol 1. Once one
gets to deal with stock rates of profit, then the non-conservation
of value is relevant. That was what the lengthy debate last
year about 'Moral Depreciation' was all about.