[OPE-L:5812] RE: Re: form and content re value-form and abstract labour

From: Michael Williams (michael@williamsmj.worldonline.co.uk)
Date: Wed Jun 06 2001 - 17:40:24 EDT

Fred (Hi Fred!) writes:
>...  But that does not mean that abstract labor is the same thing as
> money, as it is in value-from theory.

It is an absurdity to suggest that any VF interpretation holds the position
that Abstract Labour and Money 'are' the same thing. A source of the
misunderstandings between VF approaches and Fred is that the former unpacks
the notion of 'being' as connoted in the English verb 'to be', whereas this
argument of Fred's seem to take it as a simple concept. The VF position of
Reuten and Williams (1989) is that Money is the sole actual (near)
autonomous manifestation of Value and so of Abstract Labour. What exists is
concrete labour, that is really abstracted into Value by (to crudely jump
levels of abstraction) the system of ubiquitous capitalist markets - the
more concrete conditions of existence of the Value-form.

Fred may see this as obscurantist - even mystical. But it seems much less so
to me than his hopping between alleged analytical/logical priority of
abstract labour over money, and some ontological commitment to the
independent existence of abstract labour. Neither one of these follows from
the other. Fred now seems to agree that it is incoherent to commit oneself
ontologically to the independent existence of abstract labour. But wants to
insist that Marx's conceptual positing of abstract labour as a moment,
textually prior (and systemically prior) to Money, implies that Money is
logically derived from Abstract Labour. Clearly it is not - the most we can
coherently allow Fred is that Money is 'derived', in the systematic
dialectical presentation, as a necessary condition of existence of Abstract
Labour. And that is the converse of deriving Money logically from a
full-formed autonomous concept of Abstract Labour, and prohibits any
ontological commitment to abstract labour independent of its systemic

Comradely greetings,


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