[Marxism] Heinrich

Philip Dunn hyl0morphster at googlemail.com
Mon Feb 18 13:47:12 MST 2013

The concept of socially necessary labour time has cropped up on this 
[Marxism] thread. Isn't it about time to abolish it?

The problem is it can mean anything you want.

I suggest that we use actual labour time as measured on the clock. A 
worker clocks in, spend the whole day asleep and clocks out 8 hours 
later. That is 8 hours of value created. Qualification: 8 hours of 
"magnitude" of value aka equivalent value. Relative value created might 
well be turn out to be zero.

This disposes of the problem of lazy or inefficient workers.

The idea that SNLT applies across firms in an industries is a nonsense. 
No two firms produce the same commodity, however similar the use-values 
may be. Let's have 1000 farms producing the same use-value, corn. The 
1000 commodities produced are all different commodities. The use-value 
test for commodity identity has false positives.

Let us suppose that the sheep-rearing industry produces mutton and wool 
in a fixed proportion. There is no technical way to apportion costs or 
labour between wool and mutton (Itoh, Dumenil-Levy). There is only one 
commodity - mutton-wool. The use-value test for commodity identity has 
false negatives.

This purpose of this blast is to show that there are pitfalls in value 
theory that we should avoid.

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