[OPE-L:5838] Re: quasi-separation

From: Andrew Brown (Andrew@lubs.leeds.ac.uk)
Date: Fri Jun 08 2001 - 10:30:02 EDT

Sorry for brevity but I think there is something useful here:

 > Though I do not say this, I would be interested in your reasons why abstract
> labour independent of concrete labour must thereby be trans-historical.

It is a transhistorical principle that any abstract concept is 
dependent upon the particulars that instantiate it. To allow for full 
independence of abstract labour from particulars, in the CMP, 
would be to contradict this principle. Once contradicted it could 
presumably be contradicted in other epochs. (Though maybe 
someone has a position that doesn't lead to this problem).

To explore quasi-independence a different way: if abstract labour 
were fully independent then money could exist outside of its 
relationship with other commodities. But it can't. It's like Marx's 
example (in turn taken from Hegel) of a King having power only due 
to the actions of his subjects. In short, if abstract labour were fully 
independent it would not have to go through all the trouble of 
imposing itself through the exchange relation; it would be a 
sensuous thing like everything else. (again suggesting that it would 
be transhistorical).

 > > > > No 'mere' about it. Actual labour under capitalism is, 
concretely the > necessary contradictory unity of value-creating 
labour and specific > (use-value producing) labour. Thus 'aspect' 
may be better rendered as > 'moment' here. Such a contradictory 
unity is characteristic of Capitalism > (whatever similar partial, 
prefigurative and embryonic forms of it may have > existed earlier).  

I was thinking of the everyday case abstractions (production in 
general, distribution in general, labour in general, etc.). Sure, there 
is more to 'abstact labour' in the CMP than this, on both your own 
view and mine.
> michael

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