Re: (OPE-L) RE: the intellectual origins of 'simple commodity production'

From: Paul Bullock (paulbullock@EBMS-LTD.CO.UK)
Date: Wed Sep 08 2004 - 17:13:10 EDT

Re: [OPE-L] (OPE-L) RE: the intellectual origins of 'sRakesh,

what  you say is correct.  The existence of value, as a relation of exchange, is itself  old, pre capitalistic,  but did not become substantial itself until capital took control of production, even if previously stimulated  and extended by merchant capital. Value  is an historically developing category!   As  I said previously, Jurriaann missed the point about labour power ( how can anyone miss the  problem posed in Vol 1 ChV  !  ), and Gerry also missed it in his answer.  Why?


  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Rakesh Bhandari 
  Sent: Wednesday, September 08, 2004 9:32 PM
  Subject: Re: [OPE-L] (OPE-L) RE: the intellectual origins of 'simple commodity production'

  Ok Marx may never have used the phrase simple commodity production. But didn't he distinguish between the capitalist circulation of commodities and the simple circulation of commodities, e.g. exchange of commodities by small craftsmen against the revenue of despots/lords or exchange of use values produced for feudal lords only in order to diversify their luxury consumption? Why not refer to the commodities circulated outside of capital as simple, i.e. non capitalist, commodity production? Far from being merely an intellectual possibility, Marx articulated modal differences not in terms of the presence and absence of commodity exchange but in terms of whether commodities circulated as capital, or were paid for out of revenue/circulated for diversifying consumption. Again why not call the two  latters kinds of commodity circulation simple or simple commodity production?
   In Mattick Jr's reading,  the simple circulation of commodities does not simply evolve into the capitalist circulation of commodities, and  the commodity itself does not become the characteristic form of wealth unless labor power has itself become a commodity. The condition of possibility of both "market" society and the economic discourse in and through which it is reproduced is the dispossession of direct labourers. Moreover without the mass production of commodities for the purposes of the valorization of capital,  the law of value would not have regulated exchanged in direct or mediated form: reproduction did not depend on alienating at value, and markets were not deep enough without the dispossession of labour to ensure exchange by the law of large numbers at value. To apply the category of value outside this context is to over-extend the category (Marx's critique thus Kantian in form as Mattick Jr and Freudenthal argue). I go back and forth between Mattick Jr's and Jurriaan's point on this.


  At 5:26 PM -0400 9/6/04, Gerald A. Levy wrote:
    A further, and earlier, discussion of the insertion of 'simple
    commodity production' into Volume III is in the following
    article by Michael H:
    [see Section 3 -- 'Introductory Handicaps caused by Engels'
    edition' -- subsection c) -- 'commodity production and capitalist
    production'].  Originally published in _Science & Society_ Volume 60, #4,
    Winter 1996-97.

    In solidarity, Jerry

      Chris also notes
      that the only time when the expression 'simple commodity
      production'  _did_ occur in _Capital_ was in Volume III but that
      this expression was inserted there by Engels (Christopher J. Arthur
      _The New Dialectic and Marx's Capital_ Leiden; Boston; Koln: Brill,
      2002, p. 19; emphasis in original).

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Fri Sep 10 2004 - 00:00:02 EDT