[OPE-L:7583] RE: reply to Riccardo B on VF theory

From: Nicola Taylor (n.taylor@student.murdoch.edu.au)
Date: Mon Sep 02 2002 - 05:46:40 EDT

Riccardo [7571],
Thanks for your generous comments, providing me with a chance to better
understand the many areas of overlap between us (and equally interesting
differences). This is LONG, so make it clearer, my original points are
indented.  I don’t know if that will come through for everyone.
5. Interpretation versus reconstruction.  My way - and I want to
emphasise this strongly ONCE AND FOR ALL - is NOT Marx's way.  To recap:
the commodity is the wrong starting point (according to me). I prefer
the R&W 'dissociation' because it allows me to conclude that 'real
abstraction' is ALSO an abstraction FROM labour time in production.  I
am coming even closer to Eldred here: I agree with him, that there is no
sense in retaining labour time as causal in price determination (he
concedes, according to Chris's latest OPE-L that it can be so, ceteris
paribus - so what?).  For me the 'determining' element [I don't like
causal] is value form and the only quantitative theory possible IS a
monetary one. This is because I do not need, as Marx does, to make a
long (classical) preliminary inquiry into what enables commodities to
exchange; therefore, I do not need commodity money.
>This I would have liked to have had from the beginning. I would have
understood much more the way you proceeded before, >in which Marx is a
pale antecedent of your view. Here you recognize that you (as others)
depart from Marx on the starting >point, on 'real abstraction', on
labour time in production, on quantitative issues, etc. And you dusagree
in such a fundamental >way that it's a bit strange to claim Marx as a
forerunner. (I leave aside for later the issue of value theory and money
as a >commodity).
Riccardo, I acknowledge Marx as a forerunner not because he has an
embodied (abstract) labour theory of value but because he has a value
form theory, or at least some ideas about a value form concept that help
me to construct a systematic dialectical theory of capitalism.  He also
has labour as the source of value, with which I agree (although I don’t
agree with Marx’s way of constructing that argument).  I think it would
be dishonest of me to ignore the importance of Marx in my own thinking,
don’t you?  He is rather fundamental.  Of course, it is a bit of a
cliché to say that Marx is the giant upon whose shoulders we all stand
(whatever our differences), but if the cliché fits…. 
1.  A common point in vft theories is the importance attributed to the
starting point as an abstract universal concept for the domain under
investigation.  Did Marx begin with the commodity as a concept or did he
begin with perceptions?
>Here my present guess is that Marx's starting point is
phenomenological. The relevant reference, here, is Hegel, but the Hegel
>of the Phenonenology of the Spirit.
>here it would be interesting from you to understand: what's your
interpretation? what's your reconstruction?
My simple answer is that Marx starts with perceptions.  In the notes on
Wagner, written just before his death, Marx writes:
In the first place I do not start out from ‘concepts’, hence I do not
start out from ‘the concept of value’… What I start out from is that
simplest social form in which the labour-product is presented in
contemporary society, and this is the ‘*commodity*’ [** represents
italics in original].  I analyse it, and right from the beginning, in
the form in which it appears (Marx, 1879, p.198).
It seems plausible, then, that the first two sections of ‘Capital’ have
to do with perceptions and with the process of working these up into
concepts.  On this reading, the presentation proper does not commence
until the reconstitution of the commodity as an entity of double
(material-social) form, in the third section.  I don’t believe I am
being original here (see for eg, Murray, 1993).  At the same time, I
agree with you that the concept of the ‘commodity’ undergoes
transformation from the inadequate beginning to the commodity as it
appears in the Results.  Chris Arthur has written brilliantly on the
character of this transformation. 
On Hegel, I am a novice, even more so than for Marx.  I take all my cues
1) Richard Norman, 1976, ‘Hegel’s Phenomenology: A Philosophical
2) Reuten and Williams, 1989, the ‘method’ section
3) Chris Arthur, especially his 2000 piece in Burns and Fraser (eds),
‘From the Critique of Hegel to the Critique of Capital’
4) The A.V. Miller translation of ‘Hegel’s Science of Logic’.
My other major debt is to a ‘Vygotskian’ tradition in the theory of mind
(where the dichotomy of mind/reality is criticised as a false dichotomy,
to be overcome by a theory of knowledge as practice).  As I understand
him, Hegel does not distinguish at all between ontology and
epistemology.  I do distinguish, but in the ‘constructivist’ sense that
I get from Vygotsky where language/theory is a tool that bridges the gap
between theory and reality, in a mutually determining way.  I find a
very similar position in R&W (1989, pp. 8-14) so it is hardly surprising
that I agree on their views of magnitude and measure.  …  So the more
complete answer to your question is that I see the reconstruction of
Marx as an ongoing epistemological enterprise, an unfinished social
practice if you like.
Given the 3rd point of dissociation (above) - i.e. that a quantitative
(rather than a qualitative) divergence of inputs and outputs is the
driving force of social production - the exchange relation must
necessarily be one where the exchange ratios have a non-arbitrary
unitary form of expression (otherwise rational capitalists might as well
gamble in a casino).  Value is the social expression of this unitary
form - in opposition to the heterogeneous particularity of useful
>may you explain 'value form of exchange'?
If we begin with dissociation, then the first condition for existence is
a moment of association: exchange.  But exchange the character of
exchange is not yet determined at this high level of abstraction as
‘capitalist’; i.e. exchange in its value form character.  Once we have
the value form of exchange we also have products as mediators of
production relations, *determined* as things of double (material and
social) aspects, i.e.: 
  The commodity is a value
form determined product - as such it is an entity of double character
(use-value and value).
2.  The meaning of value form: I am not sure if the emphasis on
form-determination has quite the same meanings in vf theories.  It is my
reading (please correct this if wrong Chris) that Chris takes
dialectical relations as possible only because Capitalism really IS an
inverted reality in Hegel's sense.  I have some problems with this. Does
Newton's law exist before our formulation of it, does length exist
before a concept of length becomes socially necessary and so on).  Chris
says 'yes' to the existence question (as I understand, Chris?), I say
'no' (I believe Geert also says no, Geert?).  For me the social world
may be mathematically tractable or may be tractable in a Hegelian sense
- i.e. WE give to it these meanings; they are social constructions that
are more or less effective depending on the particular problem at hand.
>I doubt that existence issue (in the sense of independence from the
observer) is apt here, and the reference to mathematics >enlightening. I
think that all your problem, relative to natural science, may be
resolved if you look at Ian Hacking, >Representing and Intervening. As
for Marx, he of course thought that   the commodity was a very strange
'thing' indeed (!): >that social 'objectivity' had nothing to do with
>PROBLEM AT HAND, and that 'we' give these meanings to the social world
(this, from an Italian point of view, looks like >Vattimo's postmodern
rereading of Nietzsche and Heidegger). Then: reconstruction on your
side? May be: I guess here Marx >is in one of his high points.
The reference to mathematics has only an illustrative function.  We can
say: (A) the world IS mathematical or (B) the world is mathematically
TRACTABLE.  I take the first view as being consistent with Hegel (in the
sense that he does not distinguish ontology and epistemology) and the
second view as epistemological (laws are ‘normic’).  I introduce the
distinction because we are comparing value form theories: Chris, view
(A) and Geert, view (B).  It becomes important when considering Geert’s
view of measure, and Chris’s objection to it.  For example, Chris cannot
possibly agree with the following from Reuten (1988, p. 51):
‘…value as a form is the necessary dimension of labour and of the useful
objects produced by it in the bourgeois mode of production.  It is a
social dimension and social universal, not an a priori (in Kant’s sense)
natural-physical dimension and universal (space and continuity), though
value is a category as abstract as space and continuity.  (In actual
social intercourse its social meaning is further constituted.  In as
much as the space of an object is further constituted by the measure of
length (for which eg meters and yards are standards), the value of an
object is further constituted by money (for which eg a dollar or a pound
stirling are standards).  Both length and money are constituted in
social intercourse and as such they are social facts.’
For Chris, value is not a dimension and length is not constituted in
social intercourse as a social fact – length is a fact before any such
constitution.  I agree with Geert, of course.  My interest in Nietzsche
and Heidegger is more of an ‘existentialist’ variety, and probably
doesn’t have any bearing here (although even a philosophical illiterate
can find some similarities between Chris A’s negative dialectic and
Heidegger’s negative dialectic of nothingness).    
In commodity markets, the products of labour are validated as socially
necessary only in so far as they exchange for a price (the monetary unit
of measure); likewise labor power – the capacity to perform
physiological labor – is verified as potentially useful
>'potentially useful' in which sense? skince we both agree that the
commodity is dual, and from it a doubling of all  entities and
>processes, and that value form is what gives all of these the specific
social function, this 'labour' is useful in the sense of >producing use
values and in the sense of granting profits to the firm(s).
We both agree that the commodity is a duality of use-value and value; we
disagree that labour power is a commodity.  For me labour power is NOT a
commodity, it does not have a value and it has only ‘potentially’ a
use-value – labour.  What is special about labour power is that the
capitalists do not produce it and do not own it, hence they have quite
some difficulty extracting ‘use-value’ from it: takes separation of
workers from means of producing a livelihood, state regulations and
organisation of the working day under capitalist control.  Until workers
clock-in, the use-value of labour power is potential only.
only on labor
markets when labor power itself takes on a value form, wages.
>that's strictly speaking wrong. ther's no 'verification' here. Here we
simply have that firms succeed in having finance on the >expectation:
(i) that they will be able to get the labour 'activity' they expect in
adequate quantity and quality; (ii) that the output >will be sold.
Wrong in what sense?  I did not say ‘verification’, I said that labour
power (although a non-commodity) nevertheless takes on a value form:
i.e. is exchanged for money.  I completely agree with you that all we
have is finance on based on expectations (i) and (ii).   
BUT HERE IS THE REALLY IMPORTANT POINT: In addition to abstraction from
the useful characteristics of labor-power and its products, MONETARY
>That's definitely 'reconstruction': probably, it should be understood
from the "In addition to abstraction from the useful >characteristics
etc.", which, to my memory, is what Marx does. This, I guess, is against
both Chris and me. Unless there is >some 'trick' here. What do you mean
by 'actually' expended? Of course, we should talk of the socially
necessary labour time.
>We may however try to find at least an agreement on the
'interpretation' issue: has this anything to do with MARX's LTV? >There
'labour' - to be more precise, as we should always do - LIVING labour is
the use value of labour POWER, a 'fluid' >activity whose 'immanent'
measure is TIME, so that its 'congealation' in objectified DEAD labour
is value, whose substance >(content) is abstract labour, and whose
necessary form of manifestation is in money terms. This activity is
spent in >PRODUCTION. If one abstracts from labour time, one abstracts
from labour. Or am I wrong?
If one abstracts from labour time, one abstracts from a particular
quantity of hours.  I hold that the abstraction from concrete labour
does exactly this.  No necessary connection between the two magnitudes
(quantities of labour time expended in production and commodity prices).
Socially necessary abstract labour time (mL) is a monetary magnitude.

>Rubin: "The SPECIFIC character of Marx's labor theory of value lies in
the fact that Marx does not base his theory on the >properties of value,
i.e. on the acts of equalization and evaluation of things, but on the
properties of LABOR in the >commodity economy, i.e. on the analysis of
the working structure and production relations of labor" (81), so that,
as >Rubin says, "we confirm the general connection between 'value' and
'labor'" BUT "here our STARTING POINT is not value >but labor" (ivi).
So, when we're talking of 'forms' we are talking of the form taken BY
LABOUR, in a specific social function.
My starting point is definitely not labour, but I do agree that when we
are talking about forms we have in mind a particular social form taken
by labour (mL).
>We probably agree on this. Where we disagree is that Rubin is the first
to remind thaat "when we consider value in terms of >content and form,
we relate value with the concept which precedes it, abstract labour (and
in the last analysis with the >material process of production), the
content. On the other hand, ONCE we have determined that value does not
represent >labor in general, but labor which has the 'form of
exchangeability' of a product, then we must pass DIRECTLY to exchange
>value". If you do ONLY the second move, you risk to lose labour. So,
tthe challenge is to show how the 'material process of >production' is
Agree with you on WHAT the ‘challenge’ is.  Disagree with you on HOW to
meet it.
>I agree with Chris that in this form determination the time dimension,
in important sense, is still there.  As I'll show you later, >the issue
here is that in this sequence
>abstract labour => value => exchange value
>you mixed up on the content/form issue, and do NOT see that the content
is not concrete but, as Rubin says, ABSTRACT >labour.
I don’t understand this criticism.  For me content is abstract labour
(I’ve said that again and again: the content of value is abstract labour
expressed in money).
>so, may we agree to disagree, giving however fro granted that SOME
people as Rubin, me, and I guess from prior mails and >writings Chris do
NOT accept your formulation above?
It is a major point of disagreement.  Well, we know this at the start,
right?  For me the subordination of labour under the aspect of time is
necessary to *capital’s* production of value: this is so because
*labour* is the source of value.  It is then a truism that the more
labour that capitalists can extract from the labour power they
purchased, the better for them, the greater the potential profits.  The
MEASURE of success, however, has nothing to do with the extraction of
labour in production: a 16 hour day will be wasted just the same as an 8
hour day if the product doesn’t sell.  In this sense, ‘real abstraction’
in the market is also abstraction from time spent on producing a
commodity, and the only measure of socially necessary ABSTRACT labour
(i.e. the only measure of the content of value) is money.    
BUT HERE IS THE REALLY IMPORTANT POINT: In addition to abstraction from
the useful characteristics of labor-power and its products, MONETARY
PRODUCTION.  Labor time is socially necessary only in terms of its
proven ability to create value in the form of money. 
>on this, of course, ALL agree. but this [last sentence] contradicts the
prior sentence, to me. unless, again, there is a trick here, >the 'poven
ability'. how can labour to be 'proved' a priori, ex-ante, to be 'value
in the form of money'? this seem to me very >neoclassical. of course,
abstract labour is immediately private, not immediately social.
What do you mean contradicts?  It should be clear, abstract labour IS
immediately social only in exchange (abstract labour is a value form of
social labour).  The abstraction that constitutes abstract labour is
therefore also an abstraction from the magnitudes of time (concrete
‘ideally abstract’ labour) expended in production.  Obviously, it
follows that ‘socially necessary’ abstract labour time has only one
measure: money.  It may be that what I say contradicts Marx or
contradicts you, but I don’t see how I am contradicting myself by saying
>to me, as I've said many times, the KERNEL of KM stays in two things
that your formulations either cancels or downplay: (i) >the UNCERTAINTY
in the extraction of living labour from labour power; (ii) the
UNCERTAINTY of the 'coming into >being' of value as ideal money into
actual money. Here you've cancelled the second. In denying the relevance
of time in value >creation WITHOUT already presupposing what others
would call the realization of commodities you are denying the first. but
>more on this later.
I can’t follow this objection at all.  In my formulation: 
(i) the UNCERTAINTY of extraction of labour from labour power is
EMPHASISED beyond the traditional approach where labour power is a
commodity.  It is precisely because labour power is NOT a commodity and
is NOT owned by capital (like land and means of production) that capital
CANNOT constitute itself as a subject (self-valorising value), except in
so far as it succeeds in extracting labour (time) from workers through
the whole of the working day.  Consider: the price of labour power is
not systematically related to its (non-existent) price of production,
the supply price of labour-power contains no surplus value.  In this
respect labour power is FUNDAMENTALLY different from technical means of
production.  It is different from nature and from means of production,
it is AUTONOMOUS, as Mike W put it in his CJE, 1998 (p. 192):
‘the compulsion of formal subordination, the struggles over the labour
process derived from the inability of employers simply to ‘switch on’
their workers, and the consequent need for ‘real subordination’ (human
resource management), together with the characteristics above, add up to
a very major difference between labour power and (other commodities),
including those constituting other means of production’.
 Fundamentally, the decision to employ labour is mediated by the
purchase of labour power and this depends on the price of labour power
and the expected price for the commodities it will produce. In this way,
ideal precommensuration (in money terms) relates value to labour.
(ii) How have I cancelled the UNCERTAINTY of the coming into being of
‘ideal money’ as ‘actual money’?  I depict the process exactly in these
terms in my conception of the concrete labour/ abstract labour duality.

>abstract DEAD labour (as the objectification of abstract LIVING labour)
is the CONTENT of value. buut it is FORM->DETERMINED. it's not labour
'in general'.
>of course, there's a problem here. what is abstract labour: LIVING or
its DEAD objectification? here I follow Rubin. the first >is potential,
latent abstract labour.
>may I remind that, to my memory, I was the one who introduced in the
debate this line of reasoning (after Rubin, of course!)? >may be I'm
wrong about this. But in RRPE 89 what I did was: criticising both
Gleicher (substantialist) and Eldred (formalist) >as polar, wrong
opposites; then, looking at Napoleoni 75, but criticising him for not
having this 'latent'/'actual' distinction >about abstract labour? going
back to Rubin to introduce it  (an hint was already in my C&C 85).
I do not have labour in general, on the contrary the double character of
labour is posited right from the start (in dissociation).  Abstract
labour is social labour, but a very special kind of social labour.  i.e.
abstract labour is the way that social labour manifests under the value
form.  Social labour in non-capitalist societies does not take the value
form of abstract labour.  Similarly concrete labour is private labour,
expended in a production process UNDER THE VALUE FORM.  In
non-capitalist societies there is no private concrete labour; all labour
is social (because production and consumption are not separated and
labour is not organised in private independent production units).  I
begin from dissociation: hence the doubling of labour into concrete and
abstract aspects.
>Btw: if you don't have time in you approach, the L in some equation
like Y = mL, what is?
I do have time in my approach (a necessary subsumption of productive
activity under the aspect of time); what I do not have is a quantitative
theory relating quantities of time to prices.  I do not have a theory of
price determination based on a labour embodied theory of value.  So, the
first thing about an equation in the form of the above is to recognise
that it is not intended to establish a relationship between dependent
and independent variables, but to say something fundamental about
capitalist society.  What is fundamental is that (m) and (L) are
inextricably connected and that their ‘unity’ makes capitalism what it
is.  In capitalism, value and price are mutually constituted by exchange
because this is the only process whereby the private, concrete labour of
individuals is constituted as social, abstract labour.  Hence there is
no sense in which abstract labour is independent of its monetary
expression.  Abstract labour is (mL): labour time, measured in money,
where the money productivity of labour (m) is the dominant operator.  
>From my perspective, then, your question must be rephrased.  By itself
(L) as measured in time is not homogeneous; it can be made so only by
assuming away a real problem (as Marx did).  Moreover, a measure in
labour time is not constant since labour productivity changes over time.
There is no adequate measure of socially necessary labour time other
than money, and it makes no sense to ask what (L) is in isolation from
(m).  This is Geert’s equation, but here of course you have MY
interpretation of it (he may object).   
So, in production processes:
The commodities produced 'ideally' represent an amount of
money, ideal money, and the activity of labor 'ideally' takes on the
form of abstract labor.

And only in exchange is abstract labour actual (mL):
>may we agree to disagree? agree on interpretation: this is Marx's idea
aboout the LTV, that it had a labour time dimension >attached to it, and
likely Rubin's. that I probably have this time dimension less than in
the 'true' Marx. and that you cancel it >altoghether. Right?
Yes we may agree to disagree here, 90% - the 10% disagreement is that I
don’t ‘cancel it altogether’   8-).
>"On the question of the relation between content and form, Marx took
the standpoint of Hegel, and not of Kant. Kant treated >form as
something external in relation to the content, and as something which
adheres to the content from the outside. From >the standpoint of Hegel's
philosophy, the content is not in itself something to which form
adheres. Rather, through its >development, the CONTENT itself gives
birth to the form which was already LATENT in the CONTENT."
>well, that's what I'm trying to do. may be I do not succeed. You seem
to me desperately to deny this Rubin's point, which >was for me a Marx's
point, the content itself giving birth to the form. Rubin again: "From
this point of view, the form of value >necessarily grows out of the
substance of value".
For me content does not give birth to the form.  Form determines the
character of the content.  Nothing desperate about that.
>May we agree to disagree? That is that for you this of Rubin is a wrong
position? May be not as an interpretation of Marx >but as a way out of
Marx's contracdctions?
>I do not understand but I agree on this rewriting of you:
the  form of value shapes the 'matter' of the labour process in the
sense that it affects the material structure of production, so that the
content of value, whose source is abstract labour 'in becoming' within
production, is extracted according to the valorisation imperatives, and
hence in this sense the value form is the 'prime determinant' of
production (to borrow from.
>btw, I don't understand what do you mean by
Without the actualization of the valorization requirement,
transformations of the 'ideal' into the 'actual' do not happen, the
dissociated system of production collapses.
>it seems to me true by definition. unless you're not saying that
without pumping out living labour frrom workers, there is one >stumbling
block against the realization of one of elements of the expectations
regulating the bargaining between banks and >firms. that is: firms
expected a given outcome in the production process proper, it didn't
came out in this way, workers were >too recalcitrant. But of course the
transformation of the ideal into the actual may fail on the commodity
market too, for >completely different reasons. but if so, we two are
Yes, here we two are IDENTICAL, which is why your criticism of me for
eliminating UNCERTAINTY is nonsense! 

BUT: Although form dominates content it is nevertheless true that the
creation of useful products is a NECESSARY moment in the capitalist
valorization process:
form cannot exist without content.
>this is an ERROR if this part is meant to imply that the  'creation of
useful product' has to do with 'content' here. the content >of value has
NOTHING to do with useful products, or useful and concrete labour. but
if that part of the sentence does not >refer to content, what's the
meaning of all this?
>you see: there is the  value/use value dialectics. for me form and
content has to do with VALUE, not with use value.
The value form determines the doubling of concepts.  So yes, form and
content has to do only with the value system.

4.  Labour as the source of value.  Chris's most important and decisive
disagreement with R&W, in my view, is his rejection of their
conceptualisation of 'nature' as 'freely' available to capital.  I think
that this criticism of Chris is correct.  The crux of the R&W argument
in chapter 1, section 9 (pp.68-73) is that labour power and nature are
not commodities (they are not produced within capitalist relations of
production.  Crucially, there is no relation between cost of production
of labour power and the wage, labour power has a price but no value, it
also does not have use-value - only labour has use value, and there is
no NECESSARY association between the price of labour power and the use
value that capitalists actually extract - it depends on class struggle,
state imposed sanctions, etc).
>the terminology is completely confused for me. e.g., what's the sense
of "only labour has use value". which labour are we >talking about?
dead, living, labour power? let's say living labour. then, LL IS the use
value of labour power. so, the >terminology should be clarified before
going on. it's not Marx. it's not interpretation. it's reconstruction.
But then it must be >explained to the reader (or tell me the paper where
you've done this in a didactical way).
The terms – dead and living – are yours/Marx’s.  I didn’t use them.  I
take it that *labour* is expended in production; because this labour is
form determined it has a double character – in production it is
‘immediately’ concrete private and at the same time ‘ideally’ abstract
(it is immediately social/abstract in exchange).
>you're right that there is no necessary association between the
necessary labour accruing to workers and the time of living >labour, in
the socially necessary magnitude, they MAY spend. though it is
capitalistically necessary that the latter is higher >than the fomer.
what's problematic, however, is not the extraction of SURPLUS labour,
but of the WHOLE of labour.
>you're right also that what ACTUALLY happens has many historical
determinants, and here clmass struggle at the point of >production and
the State intervention are very relevant.
The important point is that, unlike
means of production (which exchange among capitals) labour power
represents a purchase external to capital.  If nature is freely
available, it follows that the labour power, converted into a use-value
for capital (i.e. labour in production) is the source of value.  What is
wrong with this argument - and I believe that Chris is right about this
- is that nature is excluded by assumption, at any rate without adequate
argument.  HOWEVER: I consider that the R&W insight need not be
abandoned.  What is needed, in my view, is an extension of the argument,
such that the capital-labour exchange relation is seen to be
macroeconomic in character while the capital-capital exchange relation
is microeconomic.  This way the purchase of labour power can be
rethought (without losing anything of the R&W insights) as an 'external'
purchase made by capitalists while the purchase of means of production
AND land is conceptualised as an 'internal' purchases, or exchange among
capitalists.  This *tentative* idea of further determining the exchange
relation comes originally from Graziani (1986), although he does not use
it for this purpose.

>exactly. that why I introduced Graziani in the English debate on Marx,
both in survey and eventually in translation.
>what do you mean "although he does not use it for this purpose"? He
uses it EXACTLY to justify why the objectification of >labour as an
activity is the only content of value, and why capitalist wealth
(surplus value, NOT surplus money for Graziani) is >only due to
exploitation. may me you mean, Graziani didn't intended this to be used
within some value form persspective. >then you're right. I tried to do
this within Rubin (+ Napoleoni). you try to do this within R&W.
 I want, in other words, to develop the NECESSARY
consequences of the second 'dissociation' in R&W (i.e. separation of
workers from means of production).  This is for me a 'work in progress'
and I would be very interested to know if there are any strong
objections to this (Geert? Chris? Riccardo?). 
>no objection. indeed, in a sense, I think I've already done this. your
is (will be?) probably a different way of attempting the >same thing.
Yes, no unnecessary originality on my side here 8-))
 I am coming even closer to Eldred here: I agree with him, that there is
sense in retaining labour time as causal in price determination (he
concedes, according to Chris's latest OPE-L that it can be so, ceteris
paribus - so what?).
>this is consistent with the above, and that's why I disagree.
 For me the 'determining' element [I don't like
causal] is value form
>for me too: the value form determination of production, which means the
way capital try to overcome the recalcitrance of >workers is the central
element (literally: in the sense that is at the centre at the circuit,
and that the whole works if this works; >but the whole determines this
'core' of course).
 and the only quantitative theory possible IS a
monetary one.
>YES. money as the only actual representation of the content of value
(which may well be never known, or actually measured: >again, look  at
 This is because I do not need, as Marx does, to make a
long (classical) preliminary inquiry into what enables commodities to
>indeed, I agree that from a different perspective (which often I adopt)
this may be dispensed with
therefore, I do not need commodity money.
>I fought against commodity money AT LEAST since 89 (in English!). so I
AGREE. and you may count me within your >references 8-)
And I do not end here by concluding that production is
fundamental, I end by concluding that this whole struggle in production
is NECESSARY to the existence of capital as value form.
>WONDERFUL. then all this long journey of disagreement for agreeing? my
appproach sustain exactly this conclusion. >(personally that this
position here follows NECESSARILY from your argument).
it shows up a FUNDAMENTAL CONTRADICTION in capital as 'value form' -
that capital is NOT really and can NEVER be the autonomous 'subject'
that form determination in the Hegelian sense seems to demand (the
theory of the capitalist system cannot close with the resolution of
contradictions as Hegel's does).  On this last point in parentheses I
believe value form theories are in general agreement (whatever our
disagreements about how this system is to be theorised).
>WONDERFUL. that's EXACTLY what I think.
Thanks for the intervention

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