[OPE-L:5839] Re: form and content re value-form and abst

From: Andrew Brown (Andrew@lubs.leeds.ac.uk)
Date: Fri Jun 08 2001 - 11:01:32 EDT

I tried to send this to the  earlier...

Hello Fred,

Abstract labour indeed determines price as you say. This requires 
that there two distinct magnitudes, viz. abstract labour time and 
price magnitude, with the one determining the other (ie. the 
quantity of one leads to the quantity of the other, and not vice 

But does this require that abstract labour exists independently of 
price? Above I talked about quantity, but not quality. Do they have 
to be qualitatively 'independent'? Why should this follow?

More generally I tried to gain some more precision on existence 
and indepencence etc, in the previous post. I just don't think one 
sentence re existence and independence is ever going to be 
adequate, especially given the subtleties we are dealing with. Don't 
you agree?

Finally, note that I do allow that abstract labour exists 
independently of price if in a rather ordinary, transhistorical sense. 
Abstract labour exists as a mere aspect of concrete labour in all 
societies. Still, this fact is very important [I should not have called 
it 'banal' in my earlier post], since, for example, it is what gives rise 
to the transhitorical law that labour must be distributed in definite 
proportions within society. Perhaps this last point, is what you 
have in mind re 'independence'?

What is *not* transhistorical, is value (the analougue of Hegel's 
Essence), which is 'congealed' abstract labour, or 'thing-like' 
abstract labour, having a quasi separate existence. This only 
occurs in the CMP.

Many thanks,


On 8 Jun 2001, at 7:25, Fred B. Moseley wrote:

> Andy, "abstract labor thethers price magnitudes" means that abstract labor
> determines average prices, according to the equation:
>  Y = m L
> Abstract labor cannot determine prices in this way unless abstract labor
> exists independently of price.  
> Andrew, how do you interpret this equation, which I argue is the basis of
> Marx's theory of value and surplus-value?

> Thanks again.
> Comradely,
> Fred

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