[OPE-L:7064] the "stuff" of value and surplus value

From: gerald_a_levy (gerald_a_levy@msn.com)
Date: Thu Apr 25 2002 - 07:11:51 EDT

Re  [7062]:

Dear Ian:

In [6099] you claimed that viewing value and [the
redistribution of] surplus value as "stuff" is misleading.  
I agree with you.  

Even though value and surplus value are represented 
through commodities  -- "stuff"  (broadly interpreted to 
also include services)  --  "stuff" are not themselves 
value and surplus value. That  is because value and 
surplus value express,  most fundamentally, *specific 
social relations*. 

This, in  a nutshell, is why I disagree with your "most 
abstract definition of value" [7062]  -- it takes categories
(value, surplus value)  that express *specific* social 
relations and applies those  category  trans-historically such 
that they can apply wherever and whenever there are products 
which are produced in order to have exchange value 
and where there is a surplus (product).   This strikes me as
suggesting that "stuff" which comes to have a use-value
and an exchange-value must have a "substance" called
value and surplus-value -- regardless of the presence or absence
of a  *specific* social relation between the  ruling class and the
direct producers.  Yet, you rightly claimed that a "stuff" 
conception is misleading ... and  clearly a conception that 
highlights the fact that 'commodities' are produced without 
specifying the social relations characteristic of that commodity 
production is a  pure "stuff" theory of value.

It is the *specific social relations* that distinguish one form
of extraction of surplus labor from others.  The specific and
necessary condition for the surplus product to come to
represent surplus value is a *specific* relation between the
two major classes in capitalist society.  

In solidarity, Jerry

PS: the above represents a reply to Rakesh's [7063] as

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