Crises and Automation | Dissident Voice

(The Artificial Fabrication of Arbitrary Value, Price, and Wage Across Post-Industrial, Post-Modern Capitalism)

According to Friedrich Engels, Anti-Duhring, “the only value known in economics is the value of commodities”. Commodities are products produced, not for individual consumption by their producers, but products produced for general public consumption. The value of a commodity, according to Engels, is determined via comparison with other commodities, namely, “they can be…said to be equal or unequal [with other commodities], according to the quantity of [general human] labor embodied in each”.

As a result, for Engels, “social conditions remaining the same, two equal private products, [that is, commodities] may embody an unequal quantity of individual labor, but they always embody only an equal quantity of general human labor”. For Engels, commodities are produced according to many different types of individual labor expenditures, such as sowing, tanning, writing, pressing, etc., which may require shorter or longer work-periods, but despite these variable labor expenditures, at the abstract level these variable labor expenditures have the same value as abstract labor. That is, all commodities share and embody generalized human labor; i.e., abstract labor, and are equated as such, despite the various durations of their individual labor and labor-expenditures.

Abstract-labor is labor which can be reduced to quantification, specifically, scientific…

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