[OPE-L:8224] Re: _dynamis_ and _energeia_ of commodity & surplus-value

From: gerald_a_levy (gerald_a_levy@msn.com)
Date: Sat Dec 21 2002 - 09:06:18 EST

Re Michael E's [8221]:

Previously, including in the following excerpt from [8217], you
emphasized the importance of "know-how":

>  Thus e.g. with the art of building, the starting-point governing the
> transformation of stone and wood into a house lies in something else,
> namely,  the builder, in whom resides the know-how of building.

While a carpenter e.g. has "know-how", i.e. a skill,  I thought that
your comments in this and other posts were headed in the direction
of  the concept  of  'entrepreneurial ability' as a 'factor of production'.
That  (mistaken?) perception led me to write:

> The 'starting point'  of  commodities and value is in the exchange
> relation between wage-laborers and capitalists, i.e. in the 'employment
> contract'.  This is the starting point because without wage-labour,
> capitalist production can not commence.

What I wanted to emphasize was the specific class relation embedded
in  the nature of commodities and value.

You replied:

> I don't agree with this kind of argumentation, since it confuses causal
> interrelations with a conceptual ordering required to think through the
> phenomena. On the level of causal interrelations, one could just as well
> say  that without commodity markets, capitalist production could not
> commence, but  such causal interrelations and the kinds of causes they are
> (e.g.  effective  cause, final cause, material cause, formal cause) are
> all  intertwined  and depend  on each other. Capitalist society is an
> interdependent whole with many causal  interrelations.

I think this is a valid response.

> In thinking through capitalism, Marx starts by first considering
> first the exchange of the commodity products of labour in order to work
> out the  first concept, value, which will be used to formulate the essence
> of  capitalism.  The focus is first on the simple relations of commodity
> exchange.   How the commodities are produced is bracketed to start
> with. In particular, Marx  explicitly brackets wage-labour in considering
> value (see the footnote on  wage-labour in Chapter 1 on MEW23:59
> "The category of wages does not exist  at  all on this level of our
> presentation.") I agree with Marx's way of  proceeding  here.

I agree with this _although_  class relations _do_ form a part of the
essence of capitalism.  Indeed,  the  'starting point' (commodity) leads
one -- in due course -- to comprehend the specific nature of class
exploitation under capitalism as part of the essence of capitalism.

> Attention to what is prior and later in the order of thinking-through has
> been  with philosophical thinking since Aristotle, who introduced the
> distinction  _proteron_/_hysteron_ in his Metaphysics. Hegel and Marx
> are just two thinkers  who respect this ordering of concepts. They are
> both system thinkers.

Essence is  revealed at various stages in the ordering of concepts.  If
Marx e.g. develops a concept in Part Two rather than Part One
of _Capital_  this does not mean that this concept does not concern
the essence of capitalism.

I wrote previously:

> There is  uncertainty in _all_ phases of the circuit.

You replied in part:

> The uncertainties inherent in a power relation are of a different kind
> than the uncertainties inherent in the abstract kind of (fleeting)
> associating which  takes place on the market.


In solidarity, Jerry

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