(OPE-L) is value labour?

From: gerald_a_levy (gerald_a_levy@MSN.COM)
Date: Tue May 06 2003 - 09:15:04 EDT

Paul C wrote on 5/3:

> If one considers that value is labour,  then the value of 
> money is unproblematic.

And on 5/6, he wrote:

> What I am saying is that if one takes value either to be 
> labour, or even Smith's command over labour, then the 
> notion of a decline in the value of money is well founded. 

Yet, value is no more labour then labour is labour-power.
To say that labour (of a particular form) creates value is
quite different from saying that value _is_ labour.  Also,
to say that the magnitude of value is  determined by 
socially-necessary-labor-time is different from saying that
value _is_ labour. 

[As far as Marx's take on this is concerned (happy b-day, 
btw), note that Chris A took the late Ernest Mandel to task for 
claiming that "For Marx *labour is value*".   Chris argues that 
this is "directly refuted by Marx's own text"  (Volume 1 of _Capital_)
where M wrote that "labour is not itself value."   Chris goes on 
to claim that Mandel "overlooked the importance of the value 
*form*" ("Value Labour and Negativity" in _Capital & Class_, 
73, Spring 2001, p. 31).    What is unclear to me, though, is 
when Marx *first* expressed this proposition that labour is not 
value.  E.g. what did he write about this in the drafts of

> If one thinks that value is essentially something specific 
> to exchange - rather than being founded on something 
> prior to exchange - then the idea of a decline in the 
> value of money is no longer well founded. 

If one believes that there is a unity of the process of 
capitalist production and circulation then value is something
specific to the nature of the commodity-form where there are
generalized capitalist relations.  In other words, the issue 
isn't whether value "is essentially specific to exchange" but
rather whether the generalized development of the commodity-
form requires specific productive and exchange relations. 
We have to look then at the ontology of value relations within 
the context of a fully-developed systematic reconstruction of 
the subject matter in thought.

In solidarity, Jerry

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