[OPE-L:7634] Re: Re: RE: reply to Riccardo B on VF theory

From: Riccardo Bellofiore (bellofio@cisi.unito.it)
Date: Tue Sep 10 2002 - 07:16:15 EDT

here I can only now stress only one point, that is

At 18:04 +0100 7-09-2002, Christopher Arthur wrote:

>>>"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?
>CA: This passage from Rubin is very very wrong - about Hegel, and also he
>nearly loses the VF perspective .
>a) Hegel overcame Kant's thing-in-itself through having form do alll the
>work. He says 'The Concept marches ahead without the need for any external
>stuff' - a statement mocked by marx if C ch 3 I think. He says 'absolute
>form' generates its own content, e.g. the Idea 'creates Nature'. Again in
>1843 Marx fiercely attacks this attempt by logic to give itself a body,
>while acutely noting that despite Hegel's rhetoric, the development in his
>PR is always on the side of the content.
>So Rubin's last sentence has it completely wrong way round; in Hegel the
>form gives birth to the content; that is why it is idealist.
>b) and Rubin's conclusion about form and substance of value appears to give
>up his VFT. But the story can be made consistent if one distinguishes two
>levels  at which 'form' exists, as indicated already above.
>First level: the entire VF imposes itself on matter and 'gives birth to' a
>form-determined content.
>Second level: WITHIN this system of forms all Hegel's ontological
>categories gain actuality, including form and content themselves. We can
>speak of value as form and value as content - in one way this maps money
>and commodities (the latter considered not as use-values but as 'values')
>Now what is value-as-content that makes these commodities 'values'? It is
>NOT concrete-labour-embodied-in-products. It is rather that form-determined
>in sense 1 of form, so it is the spectral objectivity of abstract labour, a
>social rather than natural 'stuff', just as the content of a book is the
>meaningful propositions and not the paper and ink.
>So having given itself this spectral 'body' the VF must accept the
>consequence that, taken NARROWLY, at the second level, it is the case that
>there will be quantitative relations betwen SNLT and money with changes
>(for whatever reason e.g. class struggle) in the former reflected in the
>latter. This is the 'materialist moment' that is anti-Hegelian.

... I agree with this LATTER formulation, that is I think that Rubin 
was right, and that he was exactly hinting in your direction, Chris. 
is it not what we wanted to say, and were saying, all the time when 
discussing in the last posts? or should we interpret 'content' in 
Rubin as embodied labour in the sense of physiological etc. I think 
no, I think that the content of what we are discussing is not the 
'matter' of labour, is the form determined content, that is on form 
we do the same thing as with exchange in Rubin.

of course, I insist that in doing this we have to have some means to 
say that this form determination goes on already in production 
thorugh some monetary (ex ante) process, which is finance. here we 

in any case, whatevere about Hegel, the direction in Marx going on 
from content to form is (to me) consistently present. in the bad 
sense (the point to which interpreters of Marx as physiological 
labour theorist etc) and in the good sense (the content as form 
determined). the problem of the first chapter is that in it it may 
seem that the movement from content to form is the movement from 
matter to form, and that's utterly wrong. it is a positing of the 
presupposition. in it, however, there is a moment of the totality 
which is determining, where it is inevitable to break with Hegel and 
having a materialist moment (but materialist means simply that the 
spyral of valorization need an external other to go on), and it is 
PRODUCTION and exploitation of labour in it.



Riccardo Bellofiore
Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche
Via dei Caniana 2
I-24127 Bergamo, Italy
e-mail:   bellofio@unibg.it, bellofio@cisi.unito.it
direct	  +39-035-2052545
secretary +39-035 2052501
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homepage: http://www.unibg.it/dse/homebellofiore.htm

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