[OPE-L:8064] Re: (Change the world!) magnitude and givens in philosophy and political economy

From: Michael Eldred (artefact@t-online.de)
Date: Tue Nov 26 2002 - 11:42:59 EST

Cologne 26-Nov-2002

Nicola Taylor schrieb Tue, 26 Nov 2002 19:51:32 +1100:

> > Yet, the perspective that beings can only be comprehended in
> > terms of magnitude is one-sided and hence false.  There are many
> > *essential* aspects of social relations that *can not* be expressed as
> > magnitude.   In fact,  I would assert that a systematic comprehension
> > of  *CLASSES* and  *THE STATE* can not be developed merely
> > through an examination of magnitude.  Indeed,  *ONE CAN NOT
> > THE WORLD IN TERMS OF MAGNITUDE*.   Hence,  a rejection
> > of Descartes  Rule 14.4  is a REVOLUTIONARY IMPERATIVE.
> WONDERFUL!  I agree with Jerry that if we want to answer the question
> 'why Marx' we should not be looking to calculations of magnitude to
> answer it.
> In any case, as Chris A has already pointed out somewhere, labour is not
> the content of value since labour in general produces only use-values.
> It is *capital that produces value* (with an eye to monetary profit) out
> of living labour.  So value, strictly speaking, has meaning only as a
> comparison with itself in different points of time, this comparison is
> possible only because value is measured in money, and all that matters
> (to the production of surplus value) is that the wage-bill (an external
> purchase to the capitalist class) does not exhaust value added.
> Magnitude is not therefore terribly interesting.  The far more
> interesting question is how a value form, namely capital, comes to
> determine the dimensions of production (including time) in the first
> place.  This requires an inquiry into how alienated living labour
> expended in production comes to count as abstract labour and a source of
> value greater than that advanced at the start of a capital circuit (on
> the confusion between 'source' and 'content' of value see Geert R, 1999
> in Rivista di Politica Economica).
> In answering this last question, much comes to depend on the sequencing
> of arguments.  As you recently pointed out, Mike, what is needed up
> front is a theory of forms of commodity exchange; to this I would add
> 'value forms of exchange', since ultimately capital is the value form of
> exchange that we are dealing with, and as a means of association (or
> condition of existence of dissociated labour) it determines all....  I'm
> pressed for time, so will jump the gun a bit and say that only when the
> concept of value form is further developed, up to the simple
> valorisation form, M-C-M', is it possible to sensibly introduce the
> question of magnitude, and along with that an analysis of the capital
> labour relation in exchange and production.  In proposing this, I want
> to stress that I am not advancing a theory of form without content, but
> a simple methodological point: in the sequence of argument, form before
> content.  Interested to hear Mike's comment, in particular!
> Marx, imho, makes the mistake of developing form and content together
> and in the process gets stuck in a Ricardian muddle.  I suggest that all
> that matters at the early stage of his analysis is that a concept of
> value is advanced as a principle of universality or commonality in the
> *social relation* of commodities on either side of any set of exchange
> relations.  What value is 'essentially' must of course be determined -
> but not on the first pages!  Moreover, since value is not a material
> property but a social relation, discussion of the 'content' of value
> doesn't make much sense until the value form is fully developed and the
> capital labour relation introduced.  On this I am much in agreement with
> Chris A.  Although agreement between us breaks down once the content of
> value (SNLT) once the capital-labour relation is finally introduced.
> Chris maintains that once production is shown to be determined by value
> form, then SNLT determines value in production (correct if wrong Chris).
> I prefer to go along with Geert R's radical scepticism on that one! For
> me the value measure can't be anything other than money, because what is
> 'socially necessary' in labour time is impossible to conceptualise
> adequately outside monetary exchange.  That's all for now comrades.
> Michael, great to have you on board!  Look forward to stimulating
> discussions
> Nicky

Thank you Nicky! -- for the welcome and for filling me in.

Revolution is a turning in which what is at the bottom comes to the top, and
what is at the top comes to the bottom.

Stepping back is a displacement which opens a broader horizon from another
locality. Perhaps it even allows the horizon to be seen for the first time.

_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-  artefact text and translation _-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_
_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_- made by art  _-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_
http://www.webcom.com/artefact/ _-_-_-_-_-_- artefact@webcom.com
_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_ Dr Michael Eldred -_-_-

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Wed Nov 27 2002 - 00:00:01 EST