[OPE-L:5865] Re: Re: Reply to fred - A & B

From: Fred B. Moseley (fmoseley@mtholyoke.edu)
Date: Mon Jun 18 2001 - 01:25:19 EDT

Chris, thanks very much for your replies (5861 and 5862).  I think 
I understand your interpretation of Chapter 1 somewhat better now.  
A couple of responses:

1.  I do not understand what you mean by "value" in your "three levels":
	form of VALUE/exchange value" (emphasis added).  

As I understand Marx's theory, value has three aspects: the substance of
value (objectified abstract labor), the magnitude of value (socially
necessary labor-time) and the form of value (money or price or
exchange-value).  Value is not any one of these three aspects; rather,
value is all three aspects together.  Value is not a separate "level", in
contrast to the other levels of substance and form; rather, value is all
three levels at once.  Substance and form (your first and third
levels) are the substance and form OF VALUE, not a distinct level
different from value, as your own formulation of the third level ("form of
value") suggests.  What is the relation between "value" at the second
level and "value" at the third level?

I think that my interpretation is supported by Marx's basic logic in
Chapter 1 and how Marx himself described this logic.  As I have argued in
recent posts, Section 1 derives the substance of value (objectified
abstract labor) and the mangitude of value (socially necessary
labor-time) (the title of Section 1 is " ... Value [Substance of Value,
Magnitude of Value"]).  Section 3 ("The Value-Form, or
Exchange-Value") derives the form of value (money) from the substance and
the magnitude of value.  (My understanding of Marx's logic in Chapter 1
draws heavily from Banaji (1979, "From the Commodity to Capital: Hegel's
Dialectic in Marx's Capital", in Elson (ed.), *Value*).

I know of no separate concept of "value" in Chapter 1, which is neither
the substance of value nor the form of value.  Chris, would you please
explain further what do mean by this "value" that is supposed to be a
separate level from the substance of value and the form of value?  How is
this "value" defined?  In terms of what unit of measure?  You suggest that
this is a "QUALITATIVE point about the concepts involved."  But value is
also a QUANTITY, right?  Value is supposed to explain exchange-value,
which is also a quantity.  What is the unit of measure, in terms of which
the quantity of "value" is defined?  Is the unit of measure abstract labor
or money or something else?

2,  I am glad that you say that your interpretation "is consistent with
your [my] equation".  I assume you mean the equation Y = mL.  As I have
emphasized, if this equation is to determine Y (Y is money value added, or
the form of appearance of value), then L (the substance of value) must
determined independently of Y.  Chris, do you agree that L is determined
independently of Y?  Your analogy to mass and weight would seem to suggest
so (mass is determined independently of weight).  If so, then I think this
is a very important point of agreement.  

But I still do not understand what you mean by "value" that is analogous
to gravity and that somehow "transforms concrete labor into abstract
labor".  Abstract labor is a quantity, so this transformation must also
have a quantitative dimension, right?  Could you please explain how this
transformation of concrete labor into abstract labor by means of
"value" occurs quantitatively?  Do you think this transformation is
essentially the same or is it different from Marx's quantitative
determination of abstract labor in Chapter 1?

Furthermore, your analogy of gravity to "value" does not work.  You say
"value" is the form that "transforms concrete labor into abstract
labor".  This says nothing about price (or money value added) in the

(1)  	Y = m L

The transformation that "value" is supposed to bring about (from concrete
labor to abstract labor) has to do solely with L on the RHS of this

To the contrary, one could say that gravity is the force that transforms
mass into weight, according to the equation:

(2)	W = g M

where M is mass, g is the force of gravity, and W is weight.  

The similar functional forms between equations (1) and (2) is quite
remarkable!  It suggests that gravity in equation (2) is analogous to m in
equation (1) (money value added per hour of abstract labor), which
converts hours of abstract labor into money value added; gravity is not
analgous to "value" which converts concrete labor into abstract labor.

Thanks again for the productive discussion.


P.S.  I would like return to the passage we have been discussing from
Section 4 of Chapter 1, after we clarify these more fundamental points.

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