Re: [OPE-L] New Version of Capital Annotations

From: Rakesh Bhandari (bhandari@BERKELEY.EDU)
Date: Fri Feb 11 2005 - 21:04:54 EST

Hans, I want to suggest another implication to this analysis.

>Now for the practical purposes of the exchange, this
>invisible value materiality needs to become something real
>and tangible which people can interact with.  This is the
>money.  Money is the independent physical existence of the
>value of the commodity.  Therefore one can say that the
>useful labor producing gold is the Verwirklichungsform of
>the abstract labor producing the value of the linen, i.e.,
>the form in which the abstract labor producing the value of
>linen springs into a tangible existence.  This is the form
>in which something that is real but not material becomes
>material and in this way becomes actual.
>Here is another stab at it: Abstract human labor can be said
>to be real but not actual: it is the expenditure of human
>labor-power and in this way very real, and as such it is the
>source of value.  But unlike the concrete labor it does not
>leave a trace in the product; therefore one might say the
>abstract labor is invisible, while the concrete labor is
>visible.  Now as soon as the linen weaver expresses the
>value of the linen in the use value of the coat, it gives
>the invisible abstract labor which created the value of the
>linen a visible representation in the concrete labor
>producing the coat.  This is why the concrete coat labor is
>called Verwirklichungsform of the abstract linen labor.

That abstract labor is invisible has a sociological implication as
well.  People who intermarry or who dine together are already
recognizing their status equality. Marx seems to be saying that it is
difficult for people who are only in economic relationships to
recognize their status equality, though by equating different objects
to each other in exchange, they have all reduced (or elevated) their
status to the level of bearers of the material integuments of the
homogeneous human labor at society's disposal. Status equality is
thus a resultant social relation concealed (and for this reason
difficult to recognize) beneath a material shell.
Marx seems to be arguing that commodities can be brought into
relation with each other only as material forms of homogeneous human
labour. And the status equality implicit in general commodity
exchange makes a most fitting ideology of Christianity with its
abstract cult of man.
The other of such a society is implied to be none other than Hindu
civilization with its putative cult of Homo Hierachicus. In fact I do
not think Marx's analysis of the sociological implications of general
commodity exchange makes any sense outside of this comparison.
I am wondering however whether the specification of Western Christian
bourgeois society can be thought without an implicit Orientalism.


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