[OPE-L:5864] RE: Re: Re: Reply to fred - A & B

From: Michael Williams (michael@williamsmj.worldonline.co.uk)
Date: Sun Jun 17 2001 - 18:06:51 EDT

Chris can speak for himself. But any pertinence to Paul's factionalist rant
depends upon deliberately ignoring something that he well knows - that VFT's
method insists on epochally specific understanding of key categories -
including abstract labour. So all his politically righteous guff in the post
below completely misses the mark since I (at least) have in all my writings
and work on post-Hegelian interpretations of Marx(ism) been concerned
specifically to investigate the Marxist critique of capitalism.

Of course, a methodological discussion about the historical specificity of
concepts would be of interest. So would a political discussion about the
potential for catastrophic political and human errors from any chronic
misunderstanding of the nature of capitalism, and thence of the real (as
opposed to utopian, not to say fantastical) possibilities for transcending
it. But neither of these legitimate topics for debate validates ignoring key
parts of a theoretical rival's position in order to launch an otherwise
unwarranted political assault on them.

Paul's 'debate' with people who don't follow his party-line seems to lurch
from dogmatic scientism to a dogmatic ideology at will ...!

Comradely greetings,


> -----Original Message-----
> From: owner-ope-l@galaxy.csuchico.edu
> [mailto:owner-ope-l@galaxy.csuchico.edu]On Behalf Of Paul
> Sent: Sunday, June 17, 2001 10:09 PM
> To: ope-l@galaxy.csuchico.edu
> Subject: [OPE-L:5863] Re: Re: Reply to fred - A & B
> O
> > >Chris Arthur
> > >
> > >> If the
> > >> argument were really from the content there would be no 'defects' or
> > >> 'deficiencies' in the simple form and money would just be a numeraire
> > >> rather than doing any constitutive (form determining) work,
> which your
> > >> argument clearly shows it does. At least I assume that is
> what is meant by
> > >> the inclusion of the word 'NECESSARY'. If the content really
> were seperable
> > >> as is, then it would clearly be possible for it to have
> various forms of
> > >> appearance.
> > >
> This was indeed the position of Marx and Engels, that in a socialist
> economy abstract labour would appear directly as labour time on labour
> tokens paid out to workers.
> See Anti-Duhring and Critique of the Gotha Program, for backing of this.
> Fred
> > >I don't understand this argument at all.  Abstract labor has
> certain key
> > >characteristics - the abstract labor contained in each commodity is
> > >qualitatively equal and quantitatively comparable with the
> abstract labor
> > >contained in all other commodities.  But these characteristics are not
> > >directly observable as such; hence abstract labor must acquire an
> > >observable form of appearance.  But THIS FORM OF APPEARANCE MUST
> > >and the expanded form of value do not adequately express these key
> > >characteristics; i.e. they do not express the abstract labor
> contained in
> > >all commodities as qualitatively equal and quantitatively
> > >comparable.  Only money, the general form of value, in which
> the abstract
> > >labor contained in all commodities is expressed in one and the
> same form
> > >of appearance, satisfies this requirement.  Why do you think it is
> > >possible for abstract labor as a separate entity to have
> "various forms of
> > >appearance"?  How would these different forms of appearance adequately
> > >express the homogeneity and the quantitative comparability of
> the abstract
> > >labor contained in all commodities?
> > >
> > I ask - why are they unobservable? In my opinion because they are merely
> > ideal requiremenets that are only actualised with money.
> Only actualised in money in a capitalist economy, but I assume
> that you are
> aware that Marx was a notorious communist agitator, and was not
> unconcerned
> with alternatives to capitalism.
> It is a travesty of his whole project in critiquing political economy to
> restict ones focus exclusively to capitalism. This exclusive
> focus on capitalism
> is the ahistorical approach that he denigrated in the political economists
> of the 19th century.
> One should be able to answer how abstract labour will be manifest in
> socialist economies. Unless one can say something about that what useful
> theory of socialism do you have?
> What is the point in investigating political economy unless it is
> construct
> an understanding of how to run the world more humanely than the evil
> system that exists today?
> Chris A
> > I entirely agree
> > with the thrust of Jerry, Michael and Chai-on Lee in the
> subsequent posts
> > in this thread. I stress that in my own theory money is derived first
> > before abstract labour; but I also agree entirely with Michael when he
> > writes in 5812
> > "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
> > interconnections."
> What is the political implication of this?
> At first reading it looks as if you are backing the von Mises or general
> Austrian economist argument against the possibility of rational economic
> calculation in the absence of a monetary exchange economy.
> --
> Paul Cockshott
> paul@cockshott.com

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