[OPE-L:2829] Re: relabeling commodities, value, and socialism

From: Allin Cottrell (cottrell@ricardo.ecn.wfu.edu)
Date: Wed Apr 12 2000 - 19:15:25 EDT

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On Tue, 11 Apr 2000, Gerald Levy wrote:

> Yes, I agree that the specific and "idiosyncratic" way in
> which Marx defined the term commodity in _Capital_ has not
> been the "standard" way in which this term has been
> understood by historians -- both Marxist and non-Marxist.

Jerry wants to say (I think) that, for Marx, commodities (and
value) are only produced under capitalism. Surely not. Marx
says that the "division of a product into a useful thing and a
value [characteristic of the commodity] becomes practically
important, only when exchange has acquired such an extension
that useful articles are produced for the purpose of being
exchanged, and their character as value has therefore to be
taken into account, beforehand, during production" (Capital, I,
ch. 1 sect. 4).

Paul C's point, to which Jerry was responding above, is just
that, as a matter of historical fact, this condition set out by
Marx has been satisfied in various pre-capitalist societies as
well as in the non-capitalist society of the USSR post-NEP.
Such societies produced commodities, although they did not meet
the condition of "generalized commodity production", i.e.

Allin Cottrell.

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