[OPE-L:6917] Re value-form

From: Christopher Arthur (cjarthur@waitrose.com)
Date: Fri Apr 05 2002 - 18:45:31 EST

Hello Ian,
I more or less agree with Tony. But I would use dfferent terminology. I
believe that, given the peculiar socially constituted relations of
exchange, we can have value as an  'empty form'. That could be so even with
MCM if that were restricted to merchant capital and not indusrial capital.
BY an empty form I mean one that does not express a content but is simply
used by a foreign content as a mere mediator e.g. the use of money to
overcome problems of barter. In such pre/post-capitalist exchange systems,
exchange ratios would be arbitrary or tautologically reducible to
intersection of preference schedules. Only competitive capitalist
exploitation allows the value form to appropriate a universal content that
in turn determines magnitudes.
The empty form can of course be the sub-structural basis for a legal
superstructure as in Pashukanis.Such empty form could be called an
organising structure but perpahs not 'principle' if the latter means some
sort of causal efficacy is involved. I associate causal efficacy only with
self-valorising value, i.e. industrial capital.
Chris A

>Thanks for that interesting clarification (or different slant). I agree
>that in Schweickart's 'economic democracy', the self-valorisation of
>capital would no longer be the organising principle of society. I think,
>though, that there is an argument for saying that commodity exchange is an
>organising principle of the society and, if one does not absolutely
>counterpose the spheres of production and exchange, that the market
>functions as a social relation of production within that society. But I
>have no fierce objection to taking the term 'value' as the substance of a
>system based on M-C-M' and to take something else as the substance of a
>system based on C-M-C'. I was only concerned that all categories relating
>to commodities might be pronounced smeaningless outside the context of the
>categories of capitalist commodity production.  If the possibility of
>embryonic elements of M-C-M', such as merchant's capital, which have
>existed since at least the ancient world, is existed, then there could be
>no substantive difference at all over the substantive organising principle
>of capitalism, though differences might still perhaps remain over the
>organising principle of the phenomena of commodity exchange,
>>If I can jump in here, I think it is important to distinguish "exchange
>>value," a property of individual commodities, from "value," an organizing
>>principle of society as a whole.  The former is present in any and all
>>historical contexts where commodities have been exchanged.  The latter is
>>historically specific to capitalism (and brings about historically specific
>>qualities to the property of exchange value).  In Schweickart's model
>>commodities are exchanged, and so these commodities have exchange
>>value.  But if all new investments in the economy are allocated through a
>>democratic decision process, and if the capital/wage labor relation has
>>been dismantled, then I myself would say that value (the "self-valorization
>>of capital") is no longer the organizing principle of the society.  And
>>those are two crucial features of Schweickart's model.
>>         Tony
>>At 09:22 PM 4/4/02 +0900, you wrote:
>>>given your account, what would you say about Schweickart's 'economic
>>>democracy'? That this is a form of capitalism, that 'value' exists in it
>>>but is not actual, that what exchanges are not commodities but some other
>>>form of the product of labour?
>>>At 04:47 PM 4/3/02 +0100, you wrote:
>>> >Re [6868]:
>>> >,Hi Andy.
>>> >>
>>> >>> This notion of 'identity' puzzles me. If value *is* money, then what
>>> >>> is the value-*form*?
>>> >>
>>> >>I'll let one of  our VFT comrades answer your question concerning
>>> >>their perspectives.
>>> >
>>> >It maybe that someone has said value is money. But speaking for myself I
>>> >would stress hat value is only actual in the entire system of capitalist
>>> >commodity production and exchange. Aspects of its 'concept' are as it were
>>> >'distributed' over varioius points each of which are systematically
>>> >required to complement the others. Just to stick with form, I beleive
>>> >has commodity form, money form and capital form. Money has some sort of
>>> >'visibility' as 'value for itself' (Marx Gr.) but all these forms are
>>> >required (just as in Hegel Being/Essence/Concept are jointly required to
>>> >make up the thought totality) for example the commodity must be a product
>>> >of capital. Certainly value cannot be identified with any element taken in
>>> >isolation (e.g. money or labour); nor can it be given a two-word
>>> >definition, its concept must be *developed* systematically. (Althugh
>>> >made some major blunders, he did stress this in a couple of places.)
>>> >
>>> >Chris A
>>> >
>>> >
>>> >>
>>> >>For myself, I would express the relation as follows:
>>> >>
>>> >>Within a system of generalized commodity production and exchange,
>>> >>commodities are defined by the duality of use-value and value where
>>> >>the value-form is a necessary form of appearance of value and money
>>> >>is a necessary form of appearance of the value-form. Thus, value, the
>>> >>value-form, and money are all necessarily linked to each other and to
>>> >>the commodity.  I guess that means I have a "single-system" (as
>>> >>distinct from a "dual system") interpretation.
>>> >>
>>> >>So that we don't all repeat ourselves endlessly, is there anybody that
>>> >>wants to say something about this topic that they have _not_ said before
>>> >>on this list?
>>> >>
>>> >>In solidarity, Jerry
>>> >
>>> >
>>> >17 Bristol Road, Brighton, BN2 1AP, England
>>> >
>>> >
>Associate Professor Ian Hunt,
>Director, Centre for Applied Philosophy,
>Philosophy Dept, School of Humanities,
>Flinders University of SA,
>Humanities Building,
>Bedford Park, SA, 5042,
>Ph: (08) 8201 2054 Fax: (08) 8201 2784

17 Bristol Road, Brighton, BN2 1AP, England

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Thu May 02 2002 - 00:00:08 EDT