[OPE-L:8218] Re: Re: Marx's Notes on Wagner

From: Fred B. Moseley (fmoseley@mtholyoke.edu)
Date: Thu Dec 19 2002 - 23:06:00 EST

Chris, you argued that in the Notes on Wagner, Marx denied that labor is
the substance of EXCHANGE-VALUE.  I argued in response that in Chapter 1,
Marx certainly did not deny, but rather affirmed and emphasized, that
abstract labor is the common substance of COMMODITIES that determines
their exchange-values.  You seem to agree with this - you say "your
summary of Marx is generally accurate except ..."  

But then you say "... except where you write:  

"As previewed in Section 1, Section 3 derives money as the necessary form
of appearance of the substance of value (abstract labor), as derived in
Sections 1 and 2."

You go on to say:  "This repeats Wagner's error; if labour is not the
common substance of exchange-value, a fortiori it is not the substance of

But I am not arguing that labor is the substance of MONEY.  Rather, I am
arguing that abstract labor is the common substance of COMMODITIES, whose
necessary form of appearance is money.  This is clearly how Marx derived
the necessity of money in Section 3 of Chapter 1.  The characteristics of
money - homogenous quality and definite quantities - are derived from
these same characteristics of abstract labor.  Thus, money is the
appropriate and sufficient form of appearance of the salient
characteristics of abstract labor.

You, not I, are making the same mistake as Wagner - thinking that I am
arguing that labor is the substance of MONEY, but I am arguing instead
(following Marx) that abstract labor is the substance of COMMODITIES.

Chris, you want to define something called "value" that is distinct from
both abstract labor and money - the middle place in a "three place
scheme".  How exactly is this "value" defined?   And since value must be a
quantity, what is its unit of measure?  

I argue that value is not one place in a "three place scheme", but instead
value is all three places together - the substance of VALUE is abstract
labor, the magnitude of VALUE is socially necessary labor-time, and the
necessary form of appearance of VALUE is money.  This is what Marx clearly
said in the passage from Section 1 that I quoted in my last post:

"Now we know the  SUBSTANCE OF VALUE.  It is LABOUR.  We know the MEASURE
EXCHANGE-VALUE, remains to be analyzed.  (C.I.: 131; emphasis in the

Chris, how do you interpret this passage?


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