[Marxism] meaning of labor time in Capital

Waistline2 at aol.com Waistline2 at aol.com
Sat Apr 18 00:13:57 MDT 2009


In a message dated 4/17/2009 7:27:13 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time,  
kloro2006 at gmail.com writes:

>> I am having trouble with Marx's discussion of labor and the  exchange 
value of commodities, in the section of Capital Vol. 1 titled "The  
Two Factors of a Commodity: Use-Value and Value.<<

1). value or  exchange value - in commodities, is the socially necessary 
amount of time in  them. Use value is the utility of a commodity. Nothing 
without a use can enter  the field of commodity exchange, because no one would 
want it.  

*******

>> Specifically, I do not understand what he means  by 'homogeneous human 
labour.' <<
 
2). Marx premise is that all human labor, no matter what its specific  
quality or duration has the commonality that is the labor of homo-sapein sapien. 
 This "humanness" is the quality that renders labor homogeneous or as it is 
 called "abstract human labor" or "human labor in the abstract." 

When one closes their eyes to the specific laboring involved in  specific 
kinds and form of laboring, or abstract labors qualitative signature,  we are 
left with a "glob" of homogenous labor, which is in turn globs of value. 
 
 
>> Surely he does not hold that the duration of the labor of a  skilled 
worker is 
the same as for an unskilled worker.<< 
 
3). Duration as a measure of expenditure - of the human organism, is all  
the same. Skilled labor is compensation - paid a wage, for the time - 
duration,  in acquiring the skill, which becomes part of the real medium - conduit, 
 for embedding the commodity with its value content.  
 
**********
 
>> Instead, he seems to propose a kind of universal labor  ('homogeneous 
human labour'), but to me he is 
not at all clear on what this  universal labor amounts to.<<
 
4). Again time in its narrow, skilled, unskilled and historical  meaning of 
acquiring skill. 
 
************
 
 
For example, how would he measure the amount of this kind of labor in a  
particular product?

5). Time again. An hour of socially necessary labor  is an hour of socially 
necessary labor. The wages paid for an hour of socially  necessary labor 
varies from industry to industry and job to job, but an hour of  socially 
necessary labor is the same. 
 
 

Hopefully this does not cause confusion for anyone other than  myself. . 
 
 
WL. 
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