[OPE-L:5539] Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: William of Ockam's Razor and Political Economy

From: howard engelskirchen (lhengels@igc.org)
Date: Thu May 10 2001 - 23:09:29 EDT


Re your 5532

My understanding is not that the inversion referred to in the passage from
Marx gives us, insofar as it characterizes value, an illogical and absurd
mystical interconnection.  There are two possibilities here:

  a.	the abstractly general is a property of the concrete and sensuous real
-- an example might be whiteness as a property of horses, swans, hats, etc.

  b.	the concrete and sensuous real is a form of appearance of the
abstractly general.

There is nothing peculiar about one thing being a form of appearance for
another.  The error is to treat sometihng that we arrive at by purely
mental effort as if it were to generate the particulars abstracted from.
If value is purely conceptual, then we do have an illogical mystical
connection.  But if it is sometihng real, a causal ensemble, then, if it is
also non-empirical, we will have to study it through its form of
appearance.  That is why we have two separate questions presented.  First,
what is the nature of what we refer to, ie what kind of thing is it and
what does it tend to do?  Second, what are the forms of its representation?
 Thus Aristotle could not make sense of value because he could conceive of
no referent that houses or beds or money could be the form of appearance
of.  An alternative error would be to treat the form of appearance as if it
were actually, or possessed the powers of, the referent.

As for the third peculiarity, while I don't think there is anything to
suggest the text is about gold producing labor as such, I get the point --
it is the equivalent form that is at issue.  That is, it's not that the
inversion doesn't apply to the third peculiarity -- ie it is possible to
think of private labor as a form of expression for social labor -- it is
rather that Marx is saying something different:  because private labor in
the equivalent form is a form of expression for social labor it serves as a
general claim on the labor of others, ie it becomes directly exchangeable
with other commodities.  As such, it is directly social in form.



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