[OPE-L:5796] form and content re value-form and abstract labour

From: Gerald_A_Levy (Gerald_A_Levy@email.msn.com)
Date: Tue Jun 05 2001 - 16:19:52 EDT

Re Fred's [5795]:

> My main point is that Marx derived
> money as the necessary form of appearance of > the underlying essence (or
content or substance)
> of abstract labor, which is assumed to exist as
> an entity distinct from money.

Hi Fred.
I believe it is mistaken to view the relation between
form and content as uni-directional. I.e. I believe
that content determines form _and_ form determines content for the

Let me illustrate the problem with your reasoning
above: you say that your main point is that
abstract labor (what you claim to be content)
is 'distinct from' (i.e. exists independently from)
exchange value (i.e. the value form; the necessary
form of appearance of value).  Yet, there is
something manifestly wrong with your logic (which
I believe can be traced to an attempt to
comprehend a dialectical relation in terms of
analytical logic):  If abstract labor is, as you say,
truly 'distinct from' the value-form then if a
'commodity' for whatever reason ceases to have
a value-form then it thereby ceases to have value.
This result is OK by my reasoning, but I don't
think it can be reconciled with yours. If it is
truly the case, as you say, that 'content' (abstract
labor) is distinct from form (the value-form), then
abstract labor would continue to exist  *without
form* (and thereby the value-form would _not_
be the _necessary_ form of appearance of value).
The way out of this is to conclude that the
absence of form can *negate* the 'content'.  Yet,
if this is one's conclusion then abstract labor,
the value-form, and money are all necessarily
*linked* and no one concept exists 'distinct
from' the concepts they are mated to.  This
sort of mutual determination is not easily
expressed with analytical logic.

In solidarity, Jerry

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