[OPE-L:3173] Re: Re: Re: Re: Simple Commodity Production

From: Ajit Sinha (ajitsinha@lbsnaa.ernet.in)
Date: Sat May 13 2000 - 05:50:44 EDT

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Fred B. Moseley wrote:

> On Tue, 9 May 2000, Ajit Sinha wrote:
> > Fred B. Moseley wrote:
> >
> > > Now, on to David's two passages:
> > >
> > > > "The mode of production in which the product takes the form of a
> > > > commodity, or is produced directly for exchange, is the most general
> > > > and most embryonic form of bourgeois production. It therefore makes its
> > > > appearance at an early date in history. . ." (Vol. I, p. 82
> > > > [International, 1967]).
> > >
> > > This passage has a somewhat different translation in the Penguin edition:
> > >
> > > "As the commodity-form is the most GENERAL and the most
> > > it makes it appearance at an early date ..." (p. 176)
> > >
> > > And the continuation of that sentence is:
> > >
> > > "... though not in the same predominant and therefore
> > > characteristic manner as nowadays."
> > >
> > > In other words, commodities existed prior to capitalism, but the
> > > commodity-form Marx is analyzing in Chapter 1 is the "most general and
> > > undeveloped FORM OF BOURGEOIS PRODUCTION." I think this passage supports
> > > the "commodity-in-capitalism" interpretation of Chapter 1, not the simple
> > > commodity production interpretation.
> >
> > __________________
> >
> > I think it is too forced an interpretation. In combination with the passage I
> > had quoted from ch.6, I think, it leads to the conclusion that commodity and
> > commodity exchange could be analyzed independent of any specific historical
> > mode of production. Cheers, ajit sinha
> Do other people think that this is too forced an interpretation,
> especially given all the other textual evidence to support this
> interpretation presented by me and others. And there are many more
> passages that could be presented in which Marx clearly states that the
> commodity he starts with is the product of capitalist production.
> Here is one more from "Notes on Wagner":
> "What I start out from is the simplest social form in which the
> labor-product is presented in CONTEMPORARY SOCIETY."
> Marx did not analyze the commodity in Chapter 1 "independent of any
> specific historical mode of production."
> Comradely,
> Fred


Fred, the "simplest social form in which the labor-product is presented in
CONTEMPORARY SOCIETY" is the relation between the buyer and a seller on equal
footing. This relationship could exist independent of capital-labor production
relation. To a large extent I simply don't understand what is the import of your
question. As I have suggested that Marx's logical point of beginning the argument
with commodity relation was to use it for analyzing the capital-labor relation as a
relation between the seller of a commodity 'labor-power' and the buyer of the
commodity the capitalist. My point has been that this strategy creates problem for
Marx's problematic of exploitation. So this is one thing which we need to discuss
(of course, Gil's point is also highlighting a problem at this point from another

The other aspect of this could be Engels's type of interpretation (which David may
have some sympathy for) where both historical and logical developments are seen to
go in tandem. There are many places where Marx suggests such a scheme for the
logical progression from commodity to capital. This approach in my opinion is not
very fruitful, and may be discarded. I think Marx's analysis in CAPITAL is best
interpreted as synchronic rather than diachronic analysis. His repeated metaphor of
"anatomy" suggest that he thinks that science constitutes in laying down the BODY on
the operation table to analyze how the different parts of the body fit together
rather than trying to understand a specie by looking at how it evolved from its
predecessors. Cheers, ajit sinha

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