What really is SNLT?

February 2024 Forums General discussion What really is SNLT?

Viewing 15 posts - 16 through 30 (of 59 total)
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  • #130738
    Sympo
    Participant
    ALB wrote:
    No.

    So where does the idea of SNLT come from? The value of a commodity must be determined by the labour contained in it. There are two alternative views that one can hold (as far as I know): either thata) it is the individual labour time of a commodity that determines the value of said commodity.For example, if it took two hours for Arnold to pick an apple from a tree, the value of Arnolds apples would be two value units per apple. But if it took Beatrice ten thousand hours to pick an apple from a tree, then the value of Beatrices apples would be ten thousand value units per apple.or thatb) it is the "socially necessary" labour time of the apples (that have been sold) that determines the value of all apples.How one defines what "socially necessary labour time" is more or less irrelevant, because we've already accepted that the value of a commodity is determined by the labour contained in it.Alternative A is unreasonable, and as there is no other alternative than B left (and I can't think of any other option), B must be the right answer.

    #130739
    robbo203
    Participant
    Sympo wrote:
     So where does the idea of SNLT come from? The value of a commodity must be determined by the labour contained in it. There are two alternative views that one can hold (as far as I know): either thata) it is the individual labour time of a commodity that determines the value of said commodity.For example, if it took two hours for Arnold to pick an apple from a tree, the value of Arnolds apples would be two value units per apple. But if it took Beatrice ten thousand hours to pick an apple from a tree, then the value of Beatrices apples would be ten thousand value units per apple.or thatb) it is the "socially necessary" labour time of the apples (that have been sold) that determines the value of all apples.How one defines what "socially necessary labour time" is more or less irrelevant, because we've already accepted that the value of a commodity is determined by the labour contained in it.Alternative A is unreasonable, and as there is no other alternative than B left (and I can't think of any other option), B must be the right answer.

     Sympo I think the usual definition of SNLT is the average industry-wide amount of labour time required to produce a given commodity.   So for example if we assume there are only 3 businesses each producing exactly the same output  of a given commodity X wth firm A taking 2 hours to produce X; firm B, 4 hours and firm C , 6 hours then SNLT will coincide with  B.  If the outputs of A, B and C differ then SNLT will correspondingly differ. However, I have also come across the argument suggesting that SNLT corresponds to the "best practice" prevailing in a particular industry which in this case would be Firm A.  I think the argument is that since Firm A has adopted the best practice it will sooner or later crowd out its rivals and so its production time will then become the norm Personally I think the former definition of SNLT is more acceptable.  But of course this is a simplified example which, amongst other things,  ignores the value embodied in the machinery used to manufacture X that will be incorporated in X along with the contribution of living labour

    #130740
    Sympo
    Participant
    robbo203 wrote:
    Personally I think the former definition of SNLT is more acceptable. 

    I personally have a hard time choosing between the two But what are your thoughts on my reasoning?Summary of my reasoning:Labour must be the source of all value (I'll skip going through the reasons as every SPGB member/sympathizer in the thread knows the reasoning behind the statement).But if you make an apple, and I make an apple, and the labour time for them are different, they still have the same value.Therefore SNLT must be something that exists, because it's the only thing that can explain how two individual commodities, that are identical in everything except the individual labour time put into each of them, have the same value. Am I committing a logical fallacy? If so, which one? (Genuine question)

    #130741
    robbo203
    Participant
    Sympo wrote:
    robbo203 wrote:
    Personally I think the former definition of SNLT is more acceptable. 

    I personally have a hard time choosing between the two But what are your thoughts on my reasoning?Summary of my reasoning:Labour must be the source of all value (I'll skip going through the reasons as every SPGB member/sympathizer in the thread knows the reasoning behind the statement).But if you make an apple, and I make an apple, and the labour time for them are different, they still have the same value.Therefore SNLT must be something that exists, because it's the only thing that can explain how two individual commodities, that are identical in everything except the individual labour time put into each of them, have the same value. Am I committing a logical fallacy? If so, which one? (Genuine question)

     Hi Sympo,   I am not quite sure what you mean when you say "Therefore SNLT must be something that exists".  It is simply a magnitude denoting the average amount of time required to produce a given commodity on an industry-wide basis.  Its like saying the "average family" has 1.9 kids.  There is no actual family to my knowlege that has 1.9 kids.   Ditto SNLT.  I guess what I am trying to say is that you cannot look at a commodity in isolation from other commodities – or for that matter the value embodied in a particular commodity.  A particular commodity requires a certan amount of actual labour to be produced but this is not its value

    #130742
    Sympo
    Participant
    robbo203 wrote:
    I am not quite sure what you mean when you say "Therefore SNLT must be something that exists".

    Hmm, how should I explain…Okay, here's an attempt:We accept that labour must be the source of value. The more labour it takes to make a commodity, the larger the value the commodity has.If we don't believe that it's SNLT that determines the value of, say, toasters, we would have no other choice but to agree with this claim:"Mr A, mr B, mr C, mr D and mr E all makes toasters of equal quality. Mr A, B, C and D makes a toaster each in 4 hours. Mr E is really slow and makes a toaster in 40 hours. The toaster of mr E represents a greater value than the toaster of mr A, because it took him more labour time to make it."If we believe that this claim is correct, we have to believe thatthe value of 40 toasters = the value of 1 toasterwhich doesn't make any sense mathematically.But we cannot claim that the source of value isn't labour, because labour is the only thing that can explaina) what determines price when demand and supply are in harmony (note that I'm not saying that value equals price)andb) why commodities exchange at stable ratiosThis leads us to believing that my individual labour time can't determine the value of the commodity that I'm producing. The idea that it's something social makes more sense.Am I being clearer on what I mean?

    #130743

    The key thing to remember is the 'socially necessary' bit, if an object cannot be exchanged it has no value and is not a commodity.  It doesn't matter how many hours you spend making it.Take three people, they make identical widgets each, Ann and Bella make 1 widgest an hour, Cheryl makes one every three hours.  They all get put into a pot, so we don't know whose widget is whose.  Alan, Brian and Charlie make thingummies, which they exchange for widgets they know how much time they spend making thingummies (about an hour each) and when they negotiate with Ann, Bella and Cheryl they agree to swap them one for one.The widgets have value, but that is unknowable, when compared to thingummies they get exchange value, a relative value compared to a thingummy: the value and exchange value don't exist in the things themselves, but in the social relations and the process that surrounds the exchange.

    #130744
    LBird
    Participant
    Young Master Smeet wrote:
    …value and exchange value don't exist in the things themselves, but in the social relations and the process that surrounds the exchange.

    Yeah, 'value' is just like 'matter'….matter and production don't exist in the things themselves, but in the social relations and the process that surrounds the production.Hence, according to Marx, we can change them. Both 'value' and 'matter'. We could socially produce 'wealth' and 'energy', instead.

    #130745
    Sympo
    Participant
    Young Master Smeet wrote:
    The key thing to remember is the 'socially necessary' bit, if an object cannot be exchanged it has no value and is not a commodity.  It doesn't matter how many hours you spend making it.

    Yes I understand, but that's not what I'm trying to get an answer for. What I am after are your thoughs on this reasoning:1. Labour time must determine value somehow. No other theory makes sense. For example, marginal utility is extremely flawed. We cannot determine which use-value that's "better" than the other, because use-value is subjective, and can therefore not explain why commodities exchange at stable ratios.2. Claiming that two identical apples have different values because one apple took longer than the other to produce makes no sense.3. But remember, labour time must determine value somehow.4. Therefore, it's reasonable to assume that SNLT determines value. It doesn't matter how or if the SNLT of a commodity can be calculated or established. There is no other explanation that we can think of.

    #130746
    LBird
    Participant
    Sympo wrote:
    2. Claiming that two identical apples have different values because one apple took longer than the other to produce makes no sense.

    It makes perfect sense, Sympo, because 'value' is not in the 'apples'.The fact that  "one apple took longer than the other to produce" means that they are not 'identical'.That is, any 'identity' is in the production process, not in the 'apples-in-themselves' .An individual cannot tell their 'value' by examining them. Only a social group can determine 'value', by examining its own production processes.

    #130747
    Sympo
    Participant

    I meant "identical" as in "one of the apples are as useful as the other one".

    #130748
    LBird
    Participant
    Sympo wrote:
    I meant "identical" as in "one of the apples are as useful as the other one".

    But you're asking about the theory of SNLT, not comparative usefulness to individuals.SNLT is nothing to do with the latter, if that's what you're interested in. SNLT is about social production, not individuals' opinions.

    #130749
    Sympo
    Participant
    LBird wrote:
    But you're asking about the theory of SNLT, not comparative usefulness to individuals.

    I mean that none of apples are "more worked on" than the other in a quality sense.You wouldn't be able to tell which one you're holding and eating unless someone told you. Sometimes more time means more effort, but that isn't the case here. In this example someone is just being slower than what is socially necessary.If it takes 1 hour for you to make a shoe, and it takes 2 hours for me to make a shoe that's just as good, does my shoe have a higher value? I wouldn't personally argue that.

    #130750
    LBird
    Participant
    Sympo wrote:
    You wouldn't be able to tell which one you're holding and eating unless someone told you. 

    That's the point!'One' can't tell.And the 'telling someone' is a socially productive subject.

    #130751
    Anonymous
    Inactive
    LBird wrote:
    Sympo wrote:
    You wouldn't be able to tell which one you're holding and eating unless someone told you. 

    That's the point!'One' can't tell.And the 'telling someone' is a socially productive subject.

    L Bird, it looks that you have been sharpening your knife lately. The last two answers that you have posted in this thread are totally correct.Everything in regard to Socialism and Marx is social or based on the concept of social production, even more, socialism is not going to be an economic system, it is going to be a social production.Our pamphlet titled: Alternative to capitalism, written by Adam Buick covers all the questions raised on this thread

    #130752
    LBird
    Participant
    Marcos wrote:
    L Bird, it looks that you have been sharpening your knife lately. The last two answers that you have posted in this thread are totally correct.Everything in regard to Socialism and Marx is social or based on the concept of social production, even more, socialism is not going to be an economic system, it is going to be a social production.

    [my bold/italics]I know Marx better than you, Marcos.Even 'nature' and 'matter' are social products.Only 18th century 'materialists', who follow Engels' misunderstanding of Marx's 'social productionism', claim that 'nature' and 'matter' are not related to social production, and so are not 'in regard to Socialism and Marx'.Marx warned where 'materialism' would lead (in his Theses on Feuerbach), to a two-fold division in society, where a minority would claim to have a special access to 'reality' (or, 'matter' or 'nature'), and so Democratic Socialism would not apply to 'everything'.So, I'm consistently 'Marxist' and my views are 'based on the concept of social production', whereas you deny that 'matter' has anything to do with Socialism, Marx or social production. You're politically inconsistent, Marcos.

    Marcos wrote:
    Our pamphlet titled: Alternative to capitalism, written by Adam Buick covers all the questions raised on this thread

    Except the issue of the social production of 'matter'. The SPGB wishes to keep the social production of science in the hands of an elite, and will not allow the producers to vote upon their own concepts (which would allow them to change their own scientific concepts, in their own interests, for their own purposes).It's the 'materialists' whose 'knife' is blunt, Marcos. They can never answer these political questions about power within social production.

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