(OPE-L) Re: simple commodity production

From: Gerald A. Levy (Gerald_A_Levy@MSN.COM)
Date: Thu Sep 09 2004 - 09:37:37 EDT

My work schedule means that I only have time for a brief reply to
Jurriaan's post at this time.

Jurriaan wrote:

> You argue that commodity production did NOT exist prior to the advent of
> class societies, and you define simple commodity production as production
> of a product which is produced in order to be sold for money.

You misunderstood my point:  I did not suggest that was a definition of SCP;
it is the commonly accepted definition of 'commodity' used by economists,
historians, anthropologists and others.   What I objected to was the
historical claim that commodities and commodity production existed
in pre-capitalist *classless* societies --  a claim that is not supported by
the weight of the historical evidence that I am aware of.   Most of the
rest of  Jurriaan's post rests on this misunderstanding of the point I was
making. Jurriaan's interpretation rests critically on the belief that where
there is production for barter there is commodity production.

An (unstated) corollary of Jurriaan's position is this: if 'commodities'
existed in pre-capitalist classless societies, then there is every reason to
believe that commodity production will persist under communism!
This is a position which some 'market socialists' might take comfort in,
but it is not a position which seems consistent with other stated positions
of Jurriaan.   If commodity production  existed even before recorded history
in pre-capitalist classless societies and will continue to persist under
communism, then 'commodity' becomes natural and eternal.  The belief/
myth  that commodities have always existed and will always exist is
asserted by some bourgeois economists but it is not a belief that Marxists
should be associated with.

In solidarity, Jerry

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