[OPE-L:5835] RE: congealment: a metaphor?

From: Michael Williams (michael@williamsmj.worldonline.co.uk)
Date: Fri Jun 08 2001 - 08:57:50 EDT

Thanks to Andy for his correction and amplification

> -----Original Message-----
> From: owner-ope-l@galaxy.csuchico.edu
> [mailto:owner-ope-l@galaxy.csuchico.edu]On Behalf Of Andrew Brown
> Sent: Friday, June 08, 2001 12:26 PM
> To: ope-l@galaxy.csuchico.edu
> Subject: [OPE-L:5832] congealment: a metaphor?
> In fact, 'congealed' abstract labour is specific to the CMP.
> 'Embodied' abstract labour is transhistorical, but 'congealed'
> abstract labour isn't.

I disagree - Abstract Labour as a developed concept is specific to cmp.
Crudely there are earlier no ubiquitous social forces to generate the real
abstraction of human cooperative interactions with nature to generate and
reproduce abstract labour.
> Michael, the term 'congealment' is a little more than a metaphor.

1. 'metaphor' is not a term of abuse. Perhaps all models and theories
contain metaphorical elements.

2. Warm fat literally congeals as it cools. Outside this kind of instance,
'congeals' is being used metaphorically.

> Normally (transhistorically) abstract labour is a mere aspect of the
> concrete labour embodied in the product. (On my view it is a
> transhistorical fact that products are embodiments of labour). To
> talk of 'congealed' abstract labour would indeed be, at best, an
> unhelpful metaphor in such normal circumstances.

Embodiment of labour in a product is also metaphorical. Labour literally
produces products that are then... well ... its products, not its
> But, turning to the CMP, we have 'value'. Value is an abstraction
> from the concrete, sensuous, palpable body of the commodity.
> What are we left with after this abstraction? Pure 'embodied'
> abstract labour, without the body! So we are forced to say that
> abstract labour has become a substance itself, it has *congealed*,
> in 'ghostly' and peculiar fashion, in the absence of any natural
> material (sensuous) form in which it can be embodied.

Why, less mysteriously, is Value not an aspect, characteristic, predicate of
a Commodity?
> To the extent that abstract labour is truly 'separate' I guess we
> have to say the congealment is truly real. To the extent that
> abstract labour is not truly separate I guess we have to say that
> 'congealment' is a metaphor. At best abstract labour is 'quasi'
> separate so we are, in fact, somewhere in-between.

Why is separation not like pregnancy - either you are or you aren't; what is
a quasi-pregnancy (note that it is *not* a phantom [ghostly?] pregnancy,
which is indeed an accepted syndrome with pregnancy-like symptoms but no
pregnancy). Those of you who mix with children may have, in the context of
the Harry Potter phenomenon met the ghost, 'nearly headless Nick', who,
because his head was still connected by a thin sliver of sinew, was not,
much to his chagrin, allowed to join the headless horseman's hunt ... !

Comradely Greetings,


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