Keen/Ernst Discussion(To Marshall)

John R. Ernst ernst at pipeline.com
Thu Oct 19 12:20:17 MDT 1995


Jim, 
 
 
I do not think what you suggest works.  Horsepower, these 
days, refers to a certain mesure of power.  That is, we say 
that such and such an engine has 200 hp.  Meaning the  
engine can do the work of 200 "standard" horses, in terms 
of pulling weight, etc.  Labor power does work that it considerably 
more varied.   Labor power is the capacity to labor; indeed, as Marx 
got his act together his terminology changed from "capacity to labor" 
to labor power.   The distinction between labor and labor power  
may seem trivial but try reading Adam Smith if want examples of 
how confused the matter was pre-Marx. 
 
 
John 
 
On Thu, 19 Oct 1995 Jim Jaszewski <jjazz at freenet.hamilton.on.ca> said: 
 
 
> 
>On Thu, 19 Oct 1995, John R. Ernst wrote: 
> 
>> >Isn't the value creating power of machines a form of congealed labor
power 
>> >waiting to be consumed by the capitalist?  
>>   
>> I think you may mean "congealed labor" and not "congealed   
>> labor power."  Although I think Steve Keen may prefer the  
>> idea of seeing machines as having a capacity to labor, I  
>> do not think Marx would agree.  
> 
>	A tangent:  wouldn't a good pedagogical tool be the comparing of  
>Labor Power and Horsepower?? 
> 
>	Horsepower implies the ability to do work over time.  Labor Power 
>likewise.  I'm sure Marx meant it this way, but I've never seen this 
>explicitly stated anywhere...  
> 
> 
> 
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