(OPE-L) RE: 'simple commodity production'

From: Gerald A. Levy (Gerald_A_Levy@MSN.COM)
Date: Thu Sep 09 2004 - 20:19:29 EDT

Re: [OPE-L] (OPE-L) RE: the intellectual origins of 'sHi Rakesh.  This thread is getting confusing:  I began by asking 
about the intellectual origins of simple commodity production (scp)
and the thread quickly evolved into a discussion of  the concepts of 
scp and 'commodity' from a historical perspective.  You raise other
issues -- mostly about Marx:

 >>> 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? <<<

The reason for the distinction between simple circulation and capitalist
circulation of commodities was not to make a historical claim about
what some (starting with Engels?) have called scp.  Rather, the purpose
was to explain capitalist circulation _by way of contrast_ to a simpler
_concept_ (just as simple reproduction served as a means used by Marx
to go on to explain expanded reproduction) and to pose the puzzle of
surplus value (i.e., from whence did the 'prime' in M-C-M' originate?).  

You noted (former OPE-L member) Paul M's position on scp.  What
do you think about the argument advanced by Chris  in The New Dialectic 
and Marx's Capital, p. 19-21 (beginning with the questions near the
bottom  of  p. 19: "Does the model work conceptually?  Could the
law of value really obtain its 'classical form' at such a postulated stage
of development of commodity exchange?") ?  [I don't want to 
reproduce it here because it is quite an extended passage and I
don't have the time now to reproduce it all. ]

In solidarity, Jerry

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