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Thanks very much to Nicky for her lucid post. One point:
Banaji's 1979 chapter, recently drawn upon by Chris Arthur, and
others, suggests that there are *three* starting points for Capital
(depending on how you look at it).
(1) The 'commodity'. This is the commodity in its 'immediate being'
('Schein' - [I wish read German]). The commodity as it appears on
the surface of society; not yet 'posited' as a moment of capital. This is
literally where Marx starts from, on the first page of the first chapter.
(2) The 'value-form'; or its 'concrete historical synonym', the
'commodity-form'. Note carefully that Banaji has distinguished
between the 'commodity' and the 'commodity-form'. It is this
distinction which he suggests '990f commentators' have failed to
recognise. This I think Banaji calls the 'abstract essence' of capital. It
is the commodity now comprehended as (positing itself as) a form of
value. Value itself is comprehended as congealed abstract socially
necessary labour. [I may be putting my own gloss on Banaji here,
regarding the notion of 'congelation']
(3) 'Capital'. This is the most abstract notion of capital. It is the result
of the derivation from the commodity and money forms. It is a notion
that must itself be developed dialectically. It is the notion that Nicky
has in mind as the starting point I think. [Banaji mentions stuff on
'essence' and 'ground' in Hegel also - I can't remember the details]
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