[OPE-L:8087] Re: RE: Re: (Change the world!) magnitude and givens in philosophy and political economy

From: Francisco Paulo Cipolla (cipolla@sociais.ufpr.br)
Date: Mon Dec 02 2002 - 06:48:34 EST

Hi Nicola,
you argue that value has only meaning when compared with itself through
time. Are you referring to the circuit of capital, that is, the valorization
process that occurs therein? In that case, what do you mean by "meaning"?
How would we separate inflation from true valorization if we take the end
points of the circuits as the only meaning for the concept of value?

Nicola Taylor wrote:

> > 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

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Tue Dec 03 2002 - 00:00:00 EST