[OPE-L:5816] Re: form and content re value-form and abstract labour

From: Gerald_A_Levy (Gerald_A_Levy@email.msn.com)
Date: Thu Jun 07 2001 - 07:29:48 EDT

Re Fred's [5808]:

Hi Fred. Thanks for your response.

> I agree (and have emphasized) that abstract labor is NECESSARILY RELATED
> to money.  One cannot have abstract labor without money.  But that does
> not mean that abstract labor is THE SAME THING as money.

Mike W outlined an answer in [5812] to the charge that this is the position
of VFT. I think I understand, though, perhaps the source of the confusion:
while abstract labour and money are not 'the same thing' in VFT, the
*magnitude* of value is expressed (only) through money.

> In Marx's logic, he started with abstract labor ("INDEPENDENTLY of its
> form of appearance"; C.I. 128) and then derived the necessity of money
> from this abstract labor.  So I think it would be more accurate to say
> that abstract labor is LOGICALLY PRIOR to money, or is defined and derived
> independently of money, than to say that it exists independently from
> money.

Fred ... we can not confuse the order of presentation from what is
'logically prior' in a theory.   He begins not with value,  but with
"the commodity". Then, the various inter-twined concepts that compose a
commodity (use- value,  value -- including ideas such as SNLT and abstract
labour -- and exchange-value) are unpacked.  Note, additionally, that he
didn't 'start' with abstract labour -- he started Ch. 1 with use-value.
Yet, no  one would claim that because of this fact (i.e. the order of
presentation) that use-value is 'logically prior' to value and thereby has
significance in terms of what determines what, would they?

> So Marx's
> theory negates the premise of your question: Marx's theory concludes that
> as long as there are commodities and abstract labor, there will be
> money.  But that does not mean that abstract labor is the same thing as
> money, as it is in value-from theory.
> Jerry, does this help?

Well ... not exactly.

This is how I began my previous post:

>  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

This was an attempt to offer an alternative to the position that you have
expressed recently that form is content-determined.  I.e. that rather
than form (the value-form) being _only_ determined by content,
there is _also_ a possibility embedded into the inner nature of the
commodity that form can determine content.

Although the different aspects of the commodity can be defined, this
doesn't establish them as 'distinct'. Indeed, they only have meaning within
the concept of the commodity. And, in that context, if  what is believed
to have content [abstract labour, SNLT] does not go on to have a
form [exchange-value as expressed in money], then the absence of form
negates the presumed prior existence of content.  There is also a temporal
issue here: i.e. there is a separation in time between production and sale
and the absence of sale (whereby the presumed value is socially
invalidated and thereby value is not actualized) negates value. R/W call
happens  before sale the 'ideal precomensurization of value'.  Thus, one has
to look also at 'the coming into being' of value.

The punch line, I suppose, is that what weds the value-form to value is
SNLT -- a topic we discussed in various threads this Spring.

In solidarity, Jerry

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Sun Jul 15 2001 - 10:56:29 EDT