Re: value and labour

From: Andrew Brown (Andrew@LUBS.LEEDS.AC.UK)
Date: Mon May 12 2003 - 09:58:06 EDT


> RE "failing to break from classical political economy sufficiently" by
> the Hegelian-inspired, do you mean that they fail to appreciate the
> importance of the constitution of abstract labor under the capitalist
> mode of production?

My meaning was obscured by over long sentences! I was, in this
particular over-long sentence, simply trying to summarise the
relevant position of Hegel-inspired systematic dialectics. I was not
accusing Hegel-inspired systematic dialectics of failing to break
from classical political economy. Rather, I was reporting the fact
that Hegel-inspired systematic dialecticians sometimes accuse
Marx of this alleged error.  To clarify my summary it is useful to
consider just one phrase: 'embodied labour'. Accoding to Hegel-
inspired systematic dialectics it is an unhelpful metaphor to
consider products to be, in general, embodiments of labour.
Classical political economy made this mistake of seeing products
as, in general, embodiments of labour. Marx at certain points in his
writings makes this mistake also. We must, according to Hegel-
inspired systematic dialectics, reject these aspects of Marx, whilst
embracing the positive contributions of Marx, concerning the
systematic development of the value-*form*.

I disagree with Hegel-inspired systematic dialectics. I argue that
products are, in general, embodiments of labour. This is not a
metaphor. In capitalism it is necessary, but not sufficient, to
recognise that products are embodiments of labour. In capitalism
abstract labour has become a 'substance' in the precise
philosophical meaning of that term. Values are congelations of this
peculiar substance. This is not metaphorical, though it is a very
peculiar, statement. Value is a very peculiar thing. Hegel-inspired
systematic dialectics ultimately fails to fathom these peculiarities
in my view.

Also, if you have an article on your position,
> please let us know. Thanks.

I have a well-polished chapter in my PhD (the PhD is called 'Critical
Realism, Value and Capital') but not a journal article. Once
teaching is over I will undertake the task of turning the PhD
material into the format for journal articles. I'd be delighted to send
anyone the PhD ch. (or chs), in the unlikley event that anyone
should be interested.

Many thanks


> Paul
> **********************************************************************
> * "Confronting 9-11, Ideologies of Race, and Eminent Economists", Vol.
> 20 RESEARCH IN POLITICAL ECONOMY,  Paul Zarembka, editor, Elsevier
> Science ********************

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