Re: (OPE-L) Is value labour?

From: Michael Eldred (artefact@T-ONLINE.DE)
Date: Thu May 08 2003 - 06:11:35 EDT

Cologne 08-May-2003

gerald_a_levy schrieb   Wed, 7 May 2003 08:22:24 -0400:

> Paul C wrote on May 06:  > I would say that value is labour, and that
> value becomes> manifest in commodity producing societies in the form
> of> exchange value.

> GL: To begin with,  value isn't labour because labour is an
> activitywhich creates value.  Terminology such as "objectified
> labour"and labour in "crystalline" form seems to me to be
> fundamentallyconfused.  One should differentiate between the products
> oflabour and the activity of labour.   Perhaps Marx was influencedby
> references in the sciences to petrified trees,
> fossils,crystalization,  etc.  -- if so it was a poor application of
> conceptsfrom the natural sciences to the subject of political economy.
> Also,for the same reason, I think that the proposition that
> commoditiesare "containers" of value is misleading -- commodities
> _represent_value rather than "contain"  value.

What I find strange, not to say eery, in such discussions of the labour
theory of value is that the question, What is valuable about labour?, is
not posed. What does it mean for something to have value, to be

Do commodities "represent" value, "contain" value? Or _are_ they
valuable? In what sense? Are they values because they are valuable? Or
are they valuable because they represent/contain value?

> Additionally, I think the proposition that value is labouris mistaken
> because it fails to differentiate among the_ forms_ thatlabour can
> take: only labour of a quite specific form (socially-necessary-labor)
> can _create_ value.Further, if value is labour, then what is
> 'not-value'?

It is presumably no accident, that the notion of the "creation" of value
by labour necessarily arises, a Judaeo-Christian term. Furthermore, it
is only labour under a certain qualification that is said to "create"
value, namely, "socially necessary labour". The crucial conceptual
determination that value is a social relation thus is accorded the
linguistic (i.e. _logos_, logical) status of an _adverb_, not that of a
substantive (noun). This necessary quirk of language has ontological
significance perhaps for the ontological status of value?


> > 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> Why? this is a non-sequitur. > > How can
> ones belief about some
> > particularity of the capitalist mode of production - the unity of
> > production and circulation ( whatever that  means ), lead to
> > conclusions about other modes of production - namely that value
> > is absent from them.> One might as well say that because I believe
> that all
> > capitalist economies use coin , coins do not
> > exist in non-capitalist economies.

> GL: I explained what I meant in the following two sentences from
> myprevious post -- one indeed begins "In other words". My point did
> not fundamentally concern whether there is or isnot value in
> non-capitalist modes of production -- rather I wastrying to explain
> how the issue isn't "whether one thinks thatvalue is essentially
> something specific to exchange", butrather how value in bourgeois
> society requires the presenceof specific processes of production and
> circulation and thatan analysis of the subject matter reveals the
> necessaryand systematic connections between these processes.If we are
> committed ontologically to drawing out theseconnections then we see
> that value is "something specific"to the nature of the commodity
> produced in bourgeois societyand hence we can observe that value _is_
> something specificto a particular _form_ of  (capitalist) production
> _and_circulation (and hence exchange). In solidarity, Jerry

An ontological commitment can only mean a sensitivity to the question of
being embedded in these questions. The term "form" in value-form or form
of society must ring ontological bells, being as it is one of the
translations of the ontological terms _morphae_, _idea_, _logos_, all of
which on occasion are rendered in English as "form". What can we make of
the resonance of this heavyweight metaphysical carillon today with
regard to the question of bourgeois society, the society of burghers?

_-_-_-_-_-_-_-  artefact text and translation _-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_
_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_- made by art  _-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_ _-_
_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_ Dr Michael Eldred -_-_-

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