Re: on money

From: Paul Zarembka (zarembka@BUFFALO.EDU)
Date: Mon May 31 2004 - 20:51:09 EDT


I found your citations stimulating.  However, never is 'value' mentioned in the quotes you found, only 'exchange value' or 'use-value'.   At best, 'value' is implicit.  Also, to your references in the *Grundrisse*, Notebook II (c. 11/1857), pp. 256, 266, 270, I can match against them, many pages later and from Notebook VII (some months later), the following in which 'value' itself is mentioned:

    "It has become apparent in the course of our presentation that value, which appeared as an abstraction, is possible only as such an abstraction, as soon as money is posited: this circulation of money in turn leads to capital, hence can be fully developed only on the foundation of capital, just as generally only on this foundation can circulation seize hold of all moments of production. This development, therefore, not only makes visible the historic character of forms, such as capital, which belong to a specific epoch of history; but also, [in its course] categories such as value, which appear as purely abstract, show the historic foundation from which they are abstracted, and on whose basis alone they can appear, therefore in this abstraction; and categories which belong more or less to all epochs, such as e.g. money, show the historic modifications which they undergo. The economic concept of value does not occur in antiquity. Value distinguished only juridically from p!
 retium, against fraud etc. *The concept of value is entirely peculiar to the most modern economy, since it is the most abstract expression of capital itself and of the production resting on it.* In the concept of value, its secret betrayed." [p. 776, italics mine in *...*]

In any case, I'm not thrilled to find a citation against yours (or so I think it is).  Rather, I offer the quote more to 'neutralize' your finding and suggest that we have to go beyond finding quotes (thus my prior reference to independent thinking).

I've thought that object of exchange is important and that, in M-C-M', expansion of the quantity of value (value is a scalar) is the object, while in C-M-C the object is to obtain a use-value that is lacking (a qualitative object).  The latter is pretty close to the petty-bourgeois neoclassical world view, while the former goes to the core of capitalist social relations of production (including buying and selling of labor power, i.e., generalized commodity production).  Value is reserved for M-C-M'.

Let's me pause, and perhaps receive a clarification from you.

Paul Z.

Vol.21-Neoliberalism in Crisis, Accumulation, and Rosa Luxemburg's Legacy
RESEARCH IN POLITICAL ECONOMY, Zarembka/Soederberg, eds, Elsevier Science

Howard Engelskirchen <howarde@TWCNY.RR.COM> said, on 05/30/04:

>Hi Paul and others,

>In the post below Paul asked "How can you justify Value within a C-M-C
>context within Marx"?

>I'd like to ask how you can have a C-M-C without value?  And since C-M-C
>does not require the buying and selling of labor power, how it can be said
>that value has no pre-bourgeois existence?

>Here's a way to pose the question:  How can we give an account of Romans
>"gulping salads of pearls"?  Marx discusses this at 270 of the Pelican
>edition of the Grundrisse (the Chapter on Capital, Notebook II, "Capital
>and Labor").  He seems to argue that value had attained a sufficient state
>of development to insist on itself as independent thus giving rise to the
>drive inherent in its nature attained to independence to drive beyond its
>own barrier.  But since this independence is frustrate within a
>precapitalist mode of production -- there is no significant economic form
>for value which increases itself -- this leads to madness of one sort or
>another, pearl eating being one absurd form.  If we can't use the category
>value to explain this, what account do we give?

>Earlier in Notebook II ("Transition from circulation to capitalist
>production"), p. 256, Marx argues that precapitalist trading peoples
>appear "since the impulse for the activity of positing exchange values
>comes from the outside and not from the inner structure of its production,
>then the surplus of production must no longer be something accidental,
>occasionally present, but must be constantly repeated, and in this way
>domestic production itself takes on a tendency towards circulation,
>towards the positing of exchange values.  At first the effect is of a more
>physical kind.  The sphere of needs is expanded . . . The organization of
>domestic production itself is already modified by circulation and exchange

>If value is treated as a causally efficacious social relation then these
>phenomena make sense -- as a social relation value generates trading
>peoples, generates transformations of domestic production, etc.  These are
>causal tendencies blunted and overridden by the dominant mode of
>production, but nonetheless tendencies which do change social life.  Same
>question:  if we can't use the category value to explain this, what
>account do we give?

>Paul also asked, "Where do you find in Marx that Value goes beyond a
>context of labor in the abstract (is independent of the commoditization of
>labor power), thus buying and selling of labor power . . . ."

>Why doesn't this at p. 266 ("Capital and Labor," third paragraph) refer to
>a form of abstract labor that does not depend on the buying and selling of
>labor power?:

>"In the first positing of simple exchange value, labour was structured in
>such a way that the product was not a direct use value for the labourer,
>not a direct means of subsistence.  This was the general condition for the
>creation of exchange value and of exchange in general."

>First, that structuring of labor in "such a way" is the substantial *form*
>of value, the form that generates C-M-C.  Second, labor that I am
>indifferent to because it has no direct utility to me, that I engage in
>only as a means to some other end, the natural content of which I am
>indifferent to -- why isn't that abstract labor?  It qualifies as labor
>for which I select only the features of 'produced independently' and
>'useless to its producer' for attention.  But these features have causal
>consequences. Since they're causal, and lead to behaviors such as eating
>pearls, I should call them something.


>----- Original Message -----
>From: "Paul Zarembka" <zarembka@BUFFALO.EDU>
>Sent: Tuesday, May 25, 2004 12:53 PM
>Subject: Re: [OPE-L] on money

>> On Tue, 25 May 2004, Howard Engelskirchen wrote:
>> > Yes and no.  We can give an independent verbal account of the social
>> > that constitutes the commodity as Marx does at the beginning of Capital,
>> > this does not require an account of the buying and selling of labor
>> Howard,
>> The first use of the word Value in Volume 1 comes right after describing
>> labor in the abstract.  So where do you find in Marx that Value goes
>> beyond a context of labor in the abstract (is indepedent of the
>> commoditization of labor power, thus buying and selling of labor power
>> which he will discuss a bit later)?  How can you justify Value within a
>> C-M-C context within Marx (of course you may not explicitly find it and
>> still interpret Marx as such or even offer an independent interpretation
>> of the capitalist mode of production)?
>> Recall that, before he had developed the concept of labor power, Marx
>> wrote Engels in 1858:
>> Value. This is reduced entirely to the quantity of labor; time as a
>> measure of value.... Value as such has no other 'material' than labor
>> itself. This definition of value ... is only the most abstract form of
>> bourgeois wealth. It already presupposes 1. the destruction of natural
>> communism (in India etc.); 2. the destruction of all undeveloped,
>> pre-bourgeois modes of production which are not governed in their totality
>> by exchange. Although it is an abstraction, it is an abstraction which can
>> only be assumed on the basis of a particular economic development of
>> society.... (Marx and Engels, 1948, p. 58).
>> N.B.: "it is an abstraction which can only be assumed on the basis of a
>> particular economic development of society", in this case, complete
>> destruction of pre-bourgeois modes of production.
>> Paul

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