[Marxism] Heinrich: |Artesians comments

William Cockshott William.Cockshott at glasgow.ac.uk
Sun Feb 17 12:58:45 MST 2013


I am happy to accept Artesians points as they amount to a mere relabeling of what I say 
without change of semantic content. I am using the word value as synonymous with 
the time society must expend to purchase things from nature. When he says value
I would say exchange value, this is a difference in terms without significance.
Artesian accepts that abstract socially necessary labour is something that exists
outside of the commodity exchange relation.

The metaphor of time used to purchase things from nature is of course due to
Smith but Marx uses it too. where he contrasts the accidental and inadequate form
of the law of the proporational distribution of labour under commodity production with its accurate implementation
under communism:
"if society wants to satisfy some want and
have an article produced for this purpose, it must pay for it. Indeed, since commodity-production
necessitates a division of labour, society pays for this article by devoting a portion of the available
labour-time to its production. Therefore, society buys it with a definite quantity of its disposable
labour-time. That part of society which through the division of labour happens to employ its labour in
producing this particular article, must receive an equivalent in social labour incorporated in articles
which satisfy its own wants. However, there exists an accidental rather than a necessary connection
between the total amount of social labour applied to a social article, i.e., between the aliquot part of
society's total labour-power allocated to producing this article, or between the volume which the
production of this article occupies in total production, on the one hand, and the volume whereby society
seeks to satisfy the want gratified by the article in question, on the other. Every individual article, or
every definite quantity of a commodity may, indeed, contain no more than the social labour required for
its production, and from this point of view the market-value of this entire commodity represents only
necessary labour, but if this commodity has been produced in excess of the existing social needs, then so
much of the social labour-time is squandered and the mass of the commodity comes to represent a much
smaller quantity of social labour in the market than is actually incorporated in it. (It is only where
production is under the actual, predetermining control of society that the latter establishes a relation
between the volume of social labour-time applied in producing definite articles, and the volume of the
social want to be satisfied by these articles.)" 
Capital, Vol.3, Chapter 10
http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1894-c3/ch10.htm (9 of 18) [23/08/2000 16:01:26]



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