[OPE-L:2894] Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: (5 end) Partial Reply toFreds on Althusser, concluding with CLASS STRUGGLE

From: Rakesh Bhandari (bhandari@Princeton.EDU)
Date: Mon Apr 24 2000 - 18:31:32 EDT

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It seems to me that you are reading Marx's theory of money too seriously.

OK, Marx begins with a fully developed capitalism--that is, social
relations specified in terms of commodities, money and wage labor or,
simply put, privately organized production by means of wage labor.

Then Marx notes that in such a society the distribution of social labor
can only be organized by means of exchange value.

But this is only possible if there is a money commodity that is believed to
itself incarnate the metaphysical substance of universal
human labor in terms of which the practically hypostatized substance of
abstract labor embodied in all those diverse and apparently incommensurate
commodites can be measured.

So Marx's theory of value is not metaphysical. It is meant as a critique,
anthropological in nature, of the metaphysical beliefs and
theological niceties or simply category mistakes assumed in everyday
capitalist practice. From my readings only Robert Paul Wolff and Paul
Mattick Jr have truly appreciated this.

In other words, bourgeois agents must subscribe to a pantheistic logical
mysticism in their everyday lives. And one probably has to have
mastered the Hegelian dialectic to get the joke.

It seems to me that economists have simply been deaf to the irony by which
Marx deconstructed bourgeois practice and those apologists who thought they
had demonstrated the rationality of money driven behavior.

Yours, Rakesh

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