June 22, 2018 at 8:58 am #130768Bijou DrainsParticipantSympo wrote: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?
Hi SympoPerhaps the explanation below might helpFrom Some Aspects of Marxian Economics(SPGB 1978)The value of a commodity, said Marx, is determined by the amount of socially necessary labour contained in it or, what is the same thing, by the amount of socially necessary labour-time spent in producing it from start to finish. Note that the Labour Theory of Value does not say that the value of a commodity is determined by the actual amount of labour contained in it. That would mean that an inefficient worker would create more value than an efficient worker. By socially necessary is meant the amount needed to produce, and reproduce, a commodity under average working conditions, e.g. average productivity, average intensity of labour. For instance, in the British coal industry the average output is about 43cwts. per man shift and there are approximately 230 pits in operation. In some of these output per shift will be above 43cwts. and in others below, but the value of the coal is not fixed by the labour of the workers at pits of either sort. Its value is the social average brought out by the market.I think the problem you are having is that, as bolded above, is that the more labour it takes to make a commodity the more value it contains. I would say essentially yes but, and it's a big but, it's actually the more socially necessary labour time, rather than labour. The essential bit is that it is the amount needed to "produce and reproduce" in "average working conditions". Taking this to your toasters, the average costs in hours might seem to be 4 hours x 4 toasters (A+B+C+D) + 40 hours x 1 toaster= 5 toasters / 56 hours = 11 hours 12 mins per toasterhowever (and I am not including the other SNLT included in mining the copper for the wire making the circuit boards, etc.) in realitity Messers ABCD and not going to wait for E to finish his toaster but are going to make more toastersTherefore it works out at:40 x 4 hours for 40 toasters + 40 hours for 1 toaster = 161 hours for 41 toasters or roughly 4 hours per toaster.The next thing is to become commodities the toasters have to sell. If E doesn't sell his toaster he will have produced no SNLT. However the price of the toasters will refect the SNLT involved in production (Price and value are not the same). If E can reproduce his labour (feed himself, clothe himself and replace the materials he needs to make more toasters, including the capital in machinery, etc.) he will survive in the toaster business. (highly unlikely) If not he will have to start making George Foreman grills!June 22, 2018 at 6:04 pm #130769Young Master Smeet wrote:[The idea of SNLT] is a logical deduction based on the premises previously presented: we cannot apprehend value directly, all we can observe is prices paid and infer values therefrom:
Is this a valid description of the reasoning?1. We can't find out what the value of a widget is until it has been sold, because widgets don't have value before someone has buyed it.2. It is only after it has been sold (i.e. become an "expression of value" or whatever) that we can figure out its value.3. Therefore, it's reasonable to believe that the value of a sold commodity is equal to the amount of labour time that it has to have in order to be sold.Maybe this above text is confusing; I'm not even sure I'm making sense to myself. If so I apologize.June 22, 2018 at 6:15 pm #130770Bijou Drains wrote:
Do you believe that the SNLT of a widget can never be figured out?June 22, 2018 at 9:37 pm #130771
If a commodity doesn’t sell then the labour that has gone into producing it hasn’t been socially necessary.June 22, 2018 at 9:42 pm #130772Sympo wrote:Do you believe that the SNLT of a widget can never be figured out?
It’s never going to be a fixed magnitude, we are dealing with a dynamic processJune 22, 2018 at 9:43 pm #130773
There was a failed attempt at reading I I Rubin’s book on this forum. That should be one you should look through..June 23, 2018 at 12:12 am #130774AnonymousInactiveDJP wrote:There was a failed attempt at reading I I Rubin’s book on this forum. That should be one you should look through..
And this one too:https://libcom.org/files/The%20Alternative%20To%20Capitalism%20-%20Adam%20Buick%20and%20John%20Crump.pdfand this one too:https://libcom.org/files/Peter%20Hudis%20-%20Marx’s%20Concept%20of%20the%20Alternative%20to%20Capitalism.pdfJune 23, 2018 at 1:41 pm #130775DJP wrote:It’s never going to be a fixed magnitude
I'm not sure what that means.Does there not exist a numerical expression for the SNLT of a widget?DJP wrote:There was a failed attempt at reading I I Rubin’s book on this forum. That should be one you should look through..
I assume you're talking about Essays on Marx's Theory of Value. I have now read a bit of chapter 16 but it didn't really say much to me. Thanks anyway for the tip, maybe if I read it again later I will understand it a bit more."The labor-time socially necessary is that required to produce an article under the normal conditions of production, and with the average degree of skill and intensity prevalent at the time."What is meant by "normal"? What is meant by "average degree of skill and intensity"?If all sold widgets took the exact same amount of time then I would just go "okay I got what SNLT is and it makes sense".I would say the same if all sold widgets either took x hours or y hours ("out of 10 widgets 9 of them took 1 hours, therefore SNLT is 1 hour").But that's not how production is. Labour time is not a question of "A or B". It's a bunch of individual amounts of time: 1 hour, 1,1 hours, 1,3 hours, 1,37 hours etc.I'm sorry for having such a hard time understanding thisJune 24, 2018 at 9:50 am #130776June 25, 2018 at 9:41 am #130777DJP wrote:I think you are asking good questions.Try this:https://libcom.org/files/kliman.pdf
I did not read all of it (it's often a bit difficult to follow) but I think this part was of use:"Once all physical properties of the commodity that make it useful are rejected as the common property – they are qualitative properties, but the exchange relation, as a quantitative relation, abstracts from the qualities of commodities – it is then self-evident that 'only one property remains, that of being products of labour'.What is not self-evident, what no one before Marx had identified, is the dual character of this labour. The commodities are different not only as useful, concrete things, but (for the same reason) also as the products of the different sorts of useful, concrete labouring activities. Only as products of 'human labour in the abstract' are they the same.Viewing commodities from the standpoint of what they have in common, then, what remains, according to Marx, is only a 'residue'. Nothing physical, concrete, or useful – about them or the labour that produces them – is left. All that is left is a mere abstraction, a 'phantom-like objectivity; they are merely congealed quantities of homogenous human labour … As crystals of this social substance, which is common to them all, they are values – commodity values'."Can't this basically be summed up as:"The only thing commodities have in common is that they're useful and they're products of human labour. Usefulness is subjective, and cannot explain why commodities exchange at stable ratios. What we're left with is that they're products of human labour. What other solution could there be?But commodities are not products of the same type of labour. The type of labour that is used to make a chair is not the same type of labour it takes to mine diamonds. What all commodities have in common must therefore be that they are all products of human, abstract labour."A and B are two alternative answers on an exam.A cannot be correct. Therefore, B is correct.Is this faulty reasoning?June 28, 2018 at 4:48 pm #130778AnonymousInactive
The best way to learn about Politcal Economy is by reading Marx's Capital. There is not any shortcutJune 28, 2018 at 9:14 pm #130779Dave BParticipant
i Karl sensibly didn’t go directly from linen and tailored coats He went in between To Linen weaving being equal to tailoring And what they have in common is labour. However in capitalism concrete labour or labour power becomes a commodity. The price of that can fluctuate according to supply and demand. But it should gravitate or equilibrate to its natural price. Where X hours of tailoring labour = X hours of linen weaving labour. As people move if they can from under priced concrete labour power to higher priced concrete labour power. It is not always the case that more skilled labour, [which has a bit of a ‘subjective’ element they way it is often incorrectly thought off] they it is often is under supplied and in demand and commands a higher price. Karl gave several examples. Skill as far as it affects value concerns and is only valid when comparing two identical commodities and should be used in that respect when comparing different ones. Thus the value of 5 hours of skilled bricklaying is twice as much as unskilled bricklaying because it produces a bigger wall in the same time.June 29, 2018 at 10:47 am #130780Dave B wrote:Skill as far as it affects value concerns and is only valid when comparing two identical commodities and should be used in that respect when comparing different ones.Thus the value of 5 hours of skilled bricklaying is twice as much as unskilled bricklaying because it produces a bigger wall in the same time.
With all respects Dave I am sceptical to this statement.Doesn't Marx argue that when industry becomes more productive, the workers still produce the same value but the value of each individual commodity is lower? For example if I used to make 1 widget/ hour but now I make 2 widgets/hour, the value of 1 widget is half as much as it used to be.Wouldn't this also apply to bricklaying?June 29, 2018 at 6:39 pm #130781Dave BParticipant
i Yes but more skilled workers can co-exist less skilled workers often in the same place doing the same thing eg with computer programming? The skilled workers get paid more because they get things done more quickly? There is an element of the quality and thus useful value of what they produce but that is yet another argument. Skilled labour can become ‘socially unnecessary’ like handloom weaving versus semi skilled machine operators or overseers. Or it can remain socially necessary but as a concrete labour power become “over supplied” ? So; The universality of public education enables capitalists to recruit such labourers from classes that formerly had no access to such trades and were accustomed to a lower standard of living. Moreover, this increases supply, and hence competition. With few exceptions, the labour-power of these people is therefore devaluated with the progress of capitalist production. Their wage falls, while their labour capacity increases. The capitalist increases the number of these labourers whenever he has more value and profits to realise. How well this forecast of the fate of the commercial proletariat, written in 1865, has stood the test of time can be corroborated by hundreds of German clerks, who are trained in all commercial operations and acquainted with three or four languages, and offer their services in vain in London City at 25 shillings per week, which is far below the wages of a good machinist. A blank of two pages in the manuscript indicates that this point was to have been treated at greater length. For the rest, we refer the reader to Book II (Kap. VI.) ("The Costs of Circulation") [English edition: Vol. II, Ch. VI. — Ed.], where various matters belonging under this head have already been discussed. — F.E. https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1894-c3/ch17.htm#2 The public education system that really took of in the 1960’s in the UK was to supply a need for certain types of intellectual labour and to stop the ones that had from taking the piss out of the capitalists and demanding too much remuneration for it. I suppose it was collectively funded, by capitalism, to generate a national infrastructure type ‘social’ capital. I suppose now it or that ‘social’ capital’ has been sort of privatised and the supposed increased productivity that it generates goes to interest bearing capitalist in terms loan repayments and the associated monetary interest. Karl’s questionable take on that I think as regards orthodox skilled labour in the 19thcentury was that taken generally skilled labour socially got paid more to offset the ‘family’ expense of recreating it. I grew up in a sort of semi skilled, skilled enclave in the 1970’s A person of more lumpen proletarian from a notorious council estate background moved in next door to us and up in the world. He had joined the Navy as grunt and somehow or another got trained as a deep sea diver. He was getting 10 times more than my father who was a skilled ‘electrical engineer’ fixing electrical machine problems in factories. There were regular free booze parties with invites to the extended family with fights and general council estate lumpen events spilling out onto the street. It was lumpen in the sense that not all poor people behave like that because they poor etc. They didn’t stay long as they moved up into true blue Tory country and a five bed roomed house with swimming pool. I next saw him 15 years later on TV leading a dive team recovering gold from a WW2 wreck. I am not just rambling, he was as fit as F**k and it takes balls and courage to do that kind of thing and cerebral intellect is less important. Hence the subjectivity of ‘skill’ ? I knew someone, ex asian peasant herself, who worked for a big UK finance company with an English IT department of 500. They decided to send the work out to Calcutta. Her job was to tidy up and keep an eye on what they were doing on the quality of work front. But it was a good idea as 5 less skilled or experienced Calcutta programmers could actually produce what more expensive British programmers could do In the 1970’s in the uk in the factory machine fixing electrical engineer where at the top they insisted on a pay differential from the ‘fitters’ who were more like mechanics. My father who was a shop steward hated the fitters and hated the semi skilled machine operators even more. When I went into the factory system myself in the 1980’s it was still there. It has I think dissolved a bit since then; there aren’t fitters and electricians any more where I am at just engineers and they are not as snobby as they used to be.
- You must be logged in to reply to this topic.