what is labour and what is value
dhenwood at panix.com
Tue Nov 1 07:35:54 MST 1994
So, value is more a political/moral concept than an accounting one, or a
theory of relative prices?
Doug Henwood [dhenwood at panix.com]
Left Business Observer
On Mon, 31 Oct 1994, Hans Ehrbar wrote:
> Doug asks:
> Aside from the theoretical points, is there any practical political
> importance to the value controversy?
> My answer:
> Yes, or course there is.
> Alone on the ideological level.
> Some people have lots of money, and some have very little.
> From a neoclassical point of view, those with lots of money
> have this money because they have increased the level of utility
> of many other people; they deserve therefore what they have,
> their income is society's reward for their services.
> If money is labor, however, then the question arises how
> these people have the command over so much of society's labor.
> This is a question about which there is a strict taboo in
> our society. You are not supposed to think the obvious.
> This is why the first pages of CAPITAL seem so hard to understand.
> The question whether or not a precise value accounting can be done
> in which every penny of profit by a capitalist can in principle be
> traced back to a second of surplus labor elsewhere in society
> also has implications for the question whether value is real.
> Is value a social reality which has independent causative powers,
> or is value a paradigm which organizes our thinking about complex
> social-economic realitits, as Laibman wrote on p. 25 of his book
> Value, Technical Change, and Crisis, Sharpe 1992? I consider value to
> be as real as a shark. it does more than organize our thinking,
> it organizes society, it subjects material production to its own
> thirst for self-espansion. But it cannot be real if its quantity
> is for logical reasons not clearly definable.
> By the way, Justin asked me to give a substantive rundown
> of the New Solution; I will do that as soon as I find the time.
> Hans G. Ehrbar ehrbar at econ.utah.edu
> Economics Department, 308 BuC (801) 581 7797
> University of Utah (801) 581 7481
> Salt Lake City UT 84112-1107 (801) 585 5649 (FAX)
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