Miscellaneous Issues of Contention #2

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Miscellaneous Issues of Contention #2

Post by Kasrkin Seath on Thu Oct 02, 2014 2:37 pm

It has been quite some time since the last issue and I believe I have found another topic of interest: the value of Labor. A bit of background first: my thoughts on the topic were spawned from IN and trying to interpret what Production Points (PP) would realistically represent.

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Value of Labor

How do we determine the value of Labor? A common method is to simply use the price of labor to determine its overall value. However, the price of labor varies throughout time and location and the used measures (price/hour for example) fail to show the amount of labor that is being done. Are there other measures which could be used to evaluate labor? If there are, would they be worth using and/or usefully applicable?

*Labor in this context is the work performed by a human being.
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I'm posing this question because the Value of Labor has been fundamental to the concept of most (if not all) economic systems that have been devised. In most cases the evaluation is tied to price/resources and is sufficient for decision making and data analysis across a small temporal range.

I believe that for a larger analysis a secondary measure would be useful and my own proposition is:

- Define a Base unit of Labor (Base Labor), such as the average man-hours of labor needed to feed and shelter a paleolithic or agrarian adult human. This will serve as a 'measuring stick' for all other labor.

- Define a Base unit of Consumption (Base Consumption), that is a value opposite in sign and equivalent in magnitude to the base unit of labor.

- Define the Base Labor Ratio as the ratio of Performed Labor (man-hours) to units of Base Labor (also with a unit of man-hours)

- Define surplus production as the summation of net base labor and net base consumption.

Using these definitions, any given set of human population has some quantity of surplus production (note that negative surplus production is possible, will elaborate on that later).

- Define Primary Labor as labor that contributes to Base Labor (farming of food yielding crops/livestock would be an example of something easily defined as a Primary  Labor)

- Define Wealth as a form of 'stored' surplus production

- Define Leisure as a form of 'consumed' surplus production

- Define Secondary Labor as labor that produces some quantity of Wealth at a cost of a unit of Base Labor

From these definitions you arrive at a (simplistic) model of any set of human population (town, nation, etc.). The model has some portion of the population engaged in Primary Labor which produces units of Base Labor. If the amount of Base Labor exceeds Base Consumption, the populace is capable of Secondary Labor which will produce Wealth. If there is any unconsumed quantity of Base Labor within a discrete time period the surplus production is Leisure.

It is by no means a complete or perfect system, just a skeleton off of which to base a more complete one, assuming such a system would even be needed.

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Kasrkin Seath
The Law

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