[OPE-L:3153] Re: RE: RE: Simple Commodity Production

From: Fred B. Moseley (fmoseley@mtholyoke.edu)
Date: Fri May 12 2000 - 12:59:41 EDT

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On Thu, 11 May 2000, Michael Williams wrote:

> Duncan continues:
> >
> > For my part, count me out of Fred's "growing consensus". I think Marx
> > properly saw the commodity and money as historically prior to the full
> > development of capitalist social relations of production.
> And it seems to me that this statement begs all the tricky issues at stake
> here.
> 1. Of course fully-featured 'capitalism' did not leap onto the world stage
> from nothing. Inter alia, embryonic forms of money and commodity developed
> along with much else, including various forms of markets.
> 2. Further, we do not need the authority of Marx to accept the historical
> commonplace that various forms of commodities and of money existed even
> prior to capitalist pre-history. But my take is that none of these phenomena
> constituted anything like a commodity *system* in which it is meaningful to
> talk of such things as, for example 'abstract labour'.
> 3. If we then take the next step (that I know that many will not wish to
> take) that postulates that adequate characterisation of social categories
> involves locating them in their systemic interconnections, then capitalist
> commodities and money will be taken as categorically different from
> pre-capitalist commodities and money. More pragmatically a pre-capitalist
> commodity, for example, may share with a capitalist commodity *some*
> characterisitcs, for example that it is sold on a market. It may even
> as if they are both *produced with a view* to being sold on a market, though
> I would submit that 'produced with a view too' would have a significantly
> different resonance in each case.
> 4. Back to the thread: My understanding of the first part of Capital is that
> the theoretical object is not some notional or historical simple commodity
> producing system, but indeed a capitalist system in which the question of
> capital and labour markets have been temporarily bracketed to allow the
> development of a conceptualisation of commodity, value and the beginnings of
> a conceptualisation of money.
> Michael

I of course agree with Michael here. Clearly, Marx " saw the commodity
and money as historically prior to the full development of capitalist
social relations of production." But this is a separate question from
the precise specification of the commodity in Chapter 1.

Duncan, are you arguing that the commodity in Chapter 1 is product of
a historically prior simple commodity production?


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