- Capitalism and Alternatives -

thats a better draft? - necessary labor time

Posted by: Gee ( si ) on October 28, 1999 at 00:52:04:

In Reply to: Transparent (better draft) posted by Stoller on October 27, 1999 at 18:13:38:

: I'm not a baby-sitter, Gee.

More arrogent disdain.

: Just to offer one example of your painfully evident unfamiliarity with Capital

Translate as 'not agreeing must mean failure to inderstand'

, you said in this post:


: Your examples of Nike etc prompted me to think that when an economy in which there are many 'useful things' being traded for many 'useful things' (like America) meets an ecnonomy whose cycle of exchange is 'lower' (in purely perceived use-values ofcourse) you get the situation where said workman, wood and tools in the poor country is of very low relative use-value in that country (as compared tio the same in the US), whilst the end product is of relatively use-value [??] according to the American consumer (because he has so much more the trade for it)

(yes Stoller - that is finally the end of that sentence - im surprised you understood it all given your penchant for writing '???' underneath random sentences when responding.)

: : In the end a global economy would act to create a global market the same as exists in 'national' markets like the US - the same range of rich and poor and in betweens. This is why i dont think 3rd world countries are automatically doomed to be forever poor - unless they are aided and abetted by various 'initiatives' by the IMF, their own government and other governments and so forth contriving to keep them that way.

: See my response to Chuck---who I know read all of Capital---on the subject of international trade. Your assumption is erroneous---and the fact you are unfamiliar with Marx's work is TRANSPARENT.

I saw - this is the pertinent piece;

"Now, as I understand it, the merchant of old was able to benefit from differences between producing and consuming countries, especially when the producing countries were less developed and required more socially necessary labor time to produce a commodity. They had to surrender more labor time because they competed with the higher productivity of the more developed country. They also required less labor (expressed as value) in return because their standard of living required less. The profit existed largely for the merchant because the undeveloped countries, when offering commodities up for sale, possessed less
productivity and had to compensate by producing more surplus---which the merchant pocketed before reselling. And vice versa, with the developed nation trading less for more to the undeveloped nation---a shell game of constant vs. variable expenses if you will."

This relies on the concept of of 'socially necessary time'. The theory of surplus value can be established only on the assumption that necessary working hours really exist. If there is no such concept as necessary working hours, and if it is only a fictitious concept, then surplus working hours cannot exist, either. Therefore, the concept of surplus value itself cannot be established.

According to Capital necessary working hours are the hours in which the laborer offers the labor worthy of wages. Wages are the price of labor power. The price of labor force as a commodity is determined by the labor quantity existing in the daily living materials (necessities of life) which are necessary for the reproduction of labor power. "Labor quantity of daily living materials" is defined as the working hours which are required for the production of daily necessity's of life. Therefore, necessary working hours are the working hours required for the production of daily necessities of life for the laborer.

If that is true, the introduction of new machinery should be able to reduce wages. Since new machines can produce much more inexpensive commodities of better quality, the hours required for the production of daily living materials, that is, necessary working hours are shortened. Therefore. wages also should be reduced.

However wages are seldom reduced, but are more likely to increase (1) (look - im paying you a complement by copying your footnote style!) This means that it is not appropriate to say that as newer machinery is introduced, wages are reduced and necessary working hours are shortened. In reality, the hours which correspond to wages cannot exist. The concept of "necessary working hours" is not established. In this way, the working hours which have the value equal to wages (necessary working hours) do not really exist. It is a deceptive artifice based upon fictitious concepts.

: If I didn't have the time to explain the theory of relativity to you, would that disqualify it?

An interesting thing - place the LTV in the same league. nevertheless

"If I didn't have the time to explain Milton Friedmans' theories of economics to you, would that disqualify it? "

I think you can appreciate the usefulness of such questions.

(1) see "Changes in hours worked since 1950" by McGratten & Rogerson (In the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis research department - Quarterly Review Vol. 22 No. 1) which states;

"The number of weekly hours of work per person in the united states has been roughly constant since WW2. At the same time, the amount of real compensation per hour worked has more than doubled.".

Among other sources

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