Justin Schwartz jschwart at
Sun Oct 30 15:08:41 MST 1994

On Sun, 30 Oct 1994, Allin Cottrell wrote:

> >I have been following the Labor theory of Value question and am
> >confused.  As far as I can tell from Capital and Grundrisse, Marx never
> >gives a very clear definition of what either Labor or Value are.  He
> >tries in several places, most notably the early sections of Capital, but
> >these seem very flimsy.  What is being used as a definition for Labor and
> >for Value?
> The fullest discussion of the meaning of 'labor' in Marx is probably in the
> text 'Results of the Immediate Process of Production,' which appears as
> an Appendix to the Mandel/Fowkes edition of Capital, vol. 1.  I don't see
> anything 'flimsy' about this.  'Value,' it is clear from Capital, vol. 1, is
> objectified socially necessary labor-time: the value of a product is simply
> the amount of labor-time socially necessary for its production.

Isn't that the magnitude of the value of the product, strictly speaking?
Value being just the fact that there is some SNLT required for its production.

> commodity-producing society, value is 'represented' by exchange-value; in
> a planned economy it can be calculated directly, and does not take on the
> form of exchange-value.

Well, necessary labor time, Marx asserts without argument, can be this
calculated. But it's not value, properly so called, outside a commodity
economy. That's why the producers in the lower stage of communism in the
Critique of the Gotha Program do not exchange their products, , "just as
little does the labor employed on the products appear here as the value
of these products."

--Justin Schwartz


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