[OPE-L:4825] value: primary, secondary; latent, possessed? (was eigenvalues)

From: Rakesh Narpat Bhandari (rakeshb@Stanford.EDU)
Date: Fri Feb 02 2001 - 03:40:12 EST

Just to reiterate: I am not trying to bring quantum mechanics into 
value theory. The point here is a general philosophical one (here I 
draw from a helpful discussion by Grometstein, The Roots of Things: 
Topics in Quantum Mechanics). The question here is about the nature 
of the attributes of objects or qualities in general; the specific 
question is what kind of attribute is value.

Until the impact of relativity theory and quantum mechanics, it was 
tenable to categorize attributes as primary and secondary (so thought 
Anaxagoras, Galileo, Descartes, Locke); the former was supposed to be 
a feature which an object possesses independent of an observer. 
Classic examples were supposed to be mass, position or size. Primary 
qualities, that is, were thought to be resident within their object; 
inalienable from it and make up  their essence. An observer simply 
measured or read a primary quality, but the quality is in no sense 
dependent upon the observer.

Secondary qualities arise from the interaction between the object and 
an observer. Taste and color are typical of this type.

Now that distinction has broken down since with relativity theory: 
mass for example does vary with the relative speed of the object and 

If every quality is secondary, then the distinction between primary 
and secondary is simply uninformative.

But in *Physics and Philosophy* (as I cited in my second post on 
money) Heisenberg tried to replace the old distinction of primary and 
secondary attributes with the idea that qualities of an object are 
either essential or potential; possessed or latent.

With the uncertainty principle latent qualities manifest themselves 
as clearly present only upon measurement; that is, position and 
momentum appear as latent qualities....

Now this conceputal innovation is helpful in understanding  Marx for 
whom value is a kind of latent quality of commodities which manifests 
itself as clearly present only upon  successful monetary ex-change or 
"collapse" onto the money price "vector" (of course not everything 
which has assumed the commodity form and sold for a price possess the 
quality of value, but no commodity which has not sold for a price is 
a--or possesses--value).

It thus makes no sense to speak of the valorization of value as 
parallel to the expansion of money which is simply the necessary (and 
only) form of appearance of value (though value is necessarily 
misrepresented by money price). At any rate, value is necessarily 
represented in money; and value expansion can only obtain in and 
through money.

It follows then (as argued by Alejandro R and Fred in their criticism 
of standard dualism) that Marx could  not have written a "price-free" 
transformation table demonstrating the valorization of capital over 
one period in which the "inputs" would be  in the  form of values 
rather than money- or cost-prices that determined the initial sum of 
invested money capital. There is no need (strictly speaking) then to 
transform the "inputs" from "values" to "prices".

All the best, Rakesh

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