[OPE-L:3072] Re: Re: Re: Re: empirical verification of interpretations of Marx? (fwd)

From: Rakesh Bhandari (bhandari@phoenix.Princeton.EDU)
Date: Tue May 09 2000 - 18:24:32 EDT

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Jerry, I'll just make a quick reply to one of your appreciated challenges.
> In another post you defined commodities as objects produced in order
> to be sold. In this post you regress still further by claiming that
> commodities are "objects with exchange value". By that definition,
> commodities don't even have to be produced. Are you claiming that
> this was Smith's perspective or is it your own?

What I am saying is that Marx took over in his analysis of the wealth
of nations or bourgeois wealth the physiocrats and then Smith's
restriction of objects with exchange value or the commodity form.

But this is not all. He further restricted himself to objects produced by
labor (obviously) in order to be exchanged.

Now Paul C and Duncan and perhaps every else on this list knows
a lot more physics than I.

But this seems to be a perfectly reasonable procedure. For example in the
field of condensed matter physics, a scientist will first investigate the
properties of a region of a crystal far away from its boundaries so its
effects due to atoms at those boundaries can be neglected. Indeed the
physicist draws the distinction between bulk properties and surface
properties which are determinated by the atoms at the boundaries.
Similarly for Marx he is interested in the supra sensate or value property
of sensate or thingly commodities.

It is a bulk property of a vast accumulation of commodities, a property
not shared by the commodities at the boundaries of the full commodity
'lattice'--we would include here all those non reproducible commodities:
rare art works, pieces of land, golden meteors.

 So Marx is interested in the bulk properties of specifically
reproducible commodities only as they are part of a lattice which is a
vast accumulation of commodities. He is interested in the bulk or general
property of exchangeability, exchange value, value of and the nature of
the labor represented by reproducible commodities.

That is, Marx is interested in commodities only as the cell form of
bourgeois society.

If I have embarrased myself with this analogy, feel free to tell me.

Yours, Rakesh

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