[OPE-L] status equality

From: Gerald_A_Levy@MSN.COM
Date: Sat Feb 12 2005 - 10:40:23 EST

Very briefly, on Rakesh's post:

> That abstract labor is invisible has a sociological implication as
> well.  People who intermarry or who dine together are already
> recognizing their status equality.

No.  When Princess Diana and a young Prince William went to
a shelter in London for the homeless and dined with the residents,
the Princess was not recognizing status equality with the homeless.
Despite dining together, she was a representative of the Royal
family and those she dined with were her "subjects".   Hardly status
equality.  Neither does "intermarriage" --  in the presence of patriarchy,
and racism -- necessarily imply status equality.  Indeed, the status of
men and women who are married to each other is not generally
socially recognized as one of equality.  Separate is not equal:  where
there are gender roles there can be no 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.

What is missing from this perspective is the recognition that
there can be no status equality  if there is material inequality.
Status equality is rather an illusion created in the marketplace
but it is an illusion which is understood  to be an illusion by
everyone in the market because all those who enter the market
with commodities and/or money know that there is an unequal
ownership of commodities and money.   It is not the bearers
of money which are deemed to have status equality; rather
it is money itself which has status equality -- e.g. the status of
4 quarters is deemed to be equal to the status of 1 $.

> It is not the human bearers of money which establish status equality
> through the act of exchange.
> 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.

Where is the evidence that Marx's conception of the social implications
of exchange were in reference to a comparison to Hindu civilization?
I think you are really stretching here .... Simply because _you_ can't
make sense out of Marx's perspective without referring to Hindu
civilization does not mean that _Marx_  developed his perspective
on equality with reference to the social norms in pre-capitalist Hindu-
based social formations.

In solidarity, Jerry

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Sat Feb 19 2005 - 00:00:01 EST