[OPE-L:6891] value-form

From: Geert Reuten (reuten@fee.uva.nl)
Date: Thu Apr 04 2002 - 08:22:03 EST

It occured to me that behind Andy's 6867 is an implicit question (about 
Marx's account in Cap I) concerning the relation of value and value-form.
The point is that when Marx writes about "value" in general, he does mean 
the "value-form". Value is the historical concept. It is the form of 
"things" under capitalist relations.
(Note Marx's self-correction in Cap I, ch. 1, sect 2 (off head quote): "I 
should have said commodities have a value and a use-value (instead if an 
exchange-value and a use-value.)"

Having indicated that value is a social form (the value-form) Marx next 
sets out forms of this form. At least in English this may be confusing. (In 
a 1993 paper, in Moseley ed., I pointed this out and I tried to distinguish 
this by hyphening the first, the general social form, value-form; 
non-hyphening forms of form (value form). Chris Arthur pointed out to me 
that this difference will not be noticed in English.)
Note also that -- throughout Capital -- there may be some confusion in the 
English translation. Marx uses the German term "Form" (to be translated as 
"form") but also "Gestalt" (to be translated as "shape" perhaps, but which 
mostley gets translated again as form). To add to the confusion, Marx also 
uses the verb "bilden" (in many contexts something like "constitute", which 
most of the time also gets translated as "forms").
(Even if you dont speak German, it is not too difficult to check these.)

Geert Reuten

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