[OPE-L:8695] Re: Exchange

From: Andrew Brown (Andrew@lubs.leeds.ac.uk)
Date: Mon Mar 31 2003 - 10:23:11 EST

Hi Michael,

re 8687:

In your comments (i) and (ii) you interpret Marx (many times 
previously you have critiqued his 'simple errors', and those of all 
Marxists to boot) and offer an account of exchange. But, you do 
not seem to me to grasp the notions of materialism or labour, i.e. 
you do not seem to grasp the notion of 'mode of production', 
referred to in your point (i). This notion of 'mode of production' 
entails that different societies are different modes of production, 
and hence of labour. Without such a notion you can find no 'third 
thing' underlying exchange value. You have mentioned 'use value' 
but the abstraction in exchange leaves use value without any 
quantitative dimension, hence without any necessary relation to 
exchange value. It is unclear from your point (ii) whether you do still 
wish to maintain that use value 'holds exchange together', but such 
a view is falsified by the real abstraction referred to above. Use 
value is a necessary *condition* for system-wide exchange, but so 
are many, many things (e.g. humanity, matter, conducive weather, 
etc.): your point ii provides no argument that use value should be 
privileged over any other condition, as far as I can see. The point is 
that these conditions have all been entirely abstracted from in 
exchange, so cannot explain exchange value. Only labour is left 
(the quantity of SNLT is not entirely abstracted from in exchange 
though proportionality obviously doesn't hold) and the labour that is 
left is highly peculiar (defining the CMP at the most abstract level), 
since all natural materiality has been drained from it.


Date sent:      	Fri, 28 Mar 2003 22:16:40 +0100
From:           	artefact@t-online.de (Michael Eldred)
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Subject:        	[OPE-L:8687] Re: Exchange

> Cologne 29-Mar-2003
> Re: [OPE-L:8681]
> Andrew Brown schrieb Fri, 28 Mar 2003 13:24:45 -0000:
> > Hi  Michael,
> >
> > re 8679:
> > Sticking to what seems to be the main point:
> >
> > > For exchange to happen it is of no importance that there be a
> > > uniform quantitative measure in the goods themselves -- precisely
> > > because they are different, and exchange would be pointless
> > > without them being different. Exchange considered as com-merce is
> > > a 'coming together of goods'.
> >
> > Of course it is true that exchange by two isolated individuals does
> > not require a 'third thing'  (and it is always true that exchange
> > requires differences of use-value). But, as you say earlier, we are
> > dealing with generalised, i.e. society wide, exchange whence it is
> > necessary that there is a 'third thing' underlying exchange value.
> > Societies don't base themselves on generalised practices having no
> > relationship to matter, to material production, rather societies
> > *are* modes of production at heart.
> >
> > Use value difference is a *condition* for generalised exchange but
> > so are many other things (e.g. the many transhistorical requirements
> > for the existence of human beings). None of these *conditions*
> > should be confused with 'that which holds systematic exchange
> > together'.
> >
> Hi Andy,
> Two comments:
> i) When Marx is being more precise, he speaks not merely of a "mode of
> production", but of "Verkehrs- und Produktionsverhaeltnisse", i.e.
> relations of intercourse and production. The sociality of society lies
> above all in such relations of intercourse, in relations of people
> having to do with each other, having dealings with one another in the
> broadest sense.
> In the economic sphere (ontologically privileged in Marx's
> metaphysics), relations of intercourse are above all commodity
> exchange relations. Commodity exchange is the "cell form" of
> intercourse in capitalist society.
> But relations of intercourse or exchange can also be taken in a much
> broader sense to include, say, relations of friendship, the exchange
> in communication, the exchange of glances, insults, etc. Sociality
> appears in various ways in these different kinds of social relations.
> ii) "Conditions" is ambiguous. It can mean ontic-causal conditions.
> This is the normal way of thinking, especially in social science,
> including Marxist economics.
> But "conditions" can also be taken in an ontological sense as e.g. in
> Kant's transcendental "Bedingungen der Moeglichkeit". The
> phenomenological question of (capitalist) society is an ontological
> question aiming at the clarification of the basic phenomena
> constituting what we call society. In this approach, use-value and
> exchange-value are modes of being of practical things. These simple
> modes of being have to brought to light. The difficulty here resides
> not so much in the hiddenness of these phenomena but in their simple
> obviousness. The obviousness blinds us and we are easily led astray
> into ontic kinds of explanation.
> Michael
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