Re: [OPE-L] Marx's Form of Analysis

From: Philip Dunn (pscumnud@DIRCON.CO.UK)
Date: Thu Feb 17 2005 - 11:35:22 EST

Hi Jerry

They are many use-value words in your post -- jobs, work, extraction of
work, intensity of labour, raw materials, gaps between physical output and
output sold, availabilty of machinery, the length of the working week, desire,
comsumption. As I recall (and I have nearly forgotten) I was talking about
potential and actual in the context of the value-form and the valorization

I look at the valorization process and the useful labour process as different
processes. The valorization process is not a redescription or quantification of
the useful labour process. The processes are related just as commodity and
use-value are related, as substance (formed matter) to matter.  If your
conception is different, that gives scope for much confusion.   

I do think you are applying the actuality/potentiality distinction
in a very loose everyday way.  Of coure it is possible to distinguish between
potential employment and actual employment.  But 'potential' here seems to
mean little more than 'possible' or 'maximum possible'.


Quoting Gerald_A_Levy@MSN.COM:

> > No doubt. But how much of this is relevant to the theory of
> > value?  The scattergun approach is not very illuminating.
> Hi Phil:
> Hmmm. Weren't you the same person the other day that in reply
> to the question "Why?, repeatedly asked ?Why not?"?
> OK,  let's go with that approach.
> > Consider -- for the sake of simplification -- what happens
> > before, during, and after a 'period'.
> > Before time period t,  labour _and_ labour-power
> > exist only as potential.  Prior to the wage contract,
> > it can not be known what amount of potential wage-
> > labourers will actually get jobs working for capital.
> You don't think the wage contract has any relevance to the
> theory of value?
> > There is also obviously a gap between potential wages
> > and benefits and actual wages and benefits!
> You don't think that has any relevance to the theory of
> value including the magnitude of surplus value?
> > After the wage contract has been agreed to, there is still
> > only potential unless and until work is extracted by capital
> > from wage-workers in the process of production during
> > time period t.
> The extraction of work from workers has no relation to
> the magnitude of value and surplus value?
> > Even where and when work is actually
> > extracted, capital does not know whether the actual
> > extraction of work from workers will equal the potential
> > (or even average or customary) work extracted, e.g. the actual
> > intensity of labour may be and often is quite different from
> > the potential intensity of labour.
> The intensity of labor has no relation to the theory of
> value?
> > During time period t,  also, the potential access to means
> > of production may be different from the actual access,
> > e.g. there may be an unanticipated shortage of raw materials
> > required for production.  The potential constant fixed
> > capital may be also different from the actual constant
> > fixed capital, e.g. due to price changes in machinery or
> > restrictions on the diffusion and mobility of machinery
> > caused by property rights.
> Property rights have no relation to value?
> Price changes in fixed capital have no relation in
> terms of  what a given amount of invested money-capital in
> c can cause in terms of the transfer of value?
> > In the continuation of the production process after
> > production where the commodity product is transported
> > to the market, there can -- for various (natural or social)
> > reasons -- be a gap between the actual output brought to
> > market in saleable condition  and the potential commodity
> > product brought to market.
> This doesn't have any meaning for the value that can
> potentially be actualized?
> > There is then no guarantee that all of the actual output
> > will be sold or what the actual prices will be.
> No relevance for our understanding of value?
> > It is only
> > after the commodity output is sold and values are
> > actualized that surplus-value can be converted into
> > capital. The actual amount of surplus value reinvested
> > as c and v in t + 1 will generally be different from the
> > potential amount of surplus value that could have been
> > invested because of  the unproductive consumption of
> > surplus value by the capitalist class.  What the rate of
> > productive and unproductive consumption of surplus
> > value will be will not be known until it actually happens.
> No relevance for the reproduction of value and surplus
> value?
> > Prior to t + 1,  even after capitalists have a sum of
> > money-capital ready for purchasing c and v they don't
> > know what actual wages will be until after the wage
> > contract is renewed and they don't know what the
> > actual price and quality of means of production will
> > be.
> No relevance for the ongoing  temporal process of
> value and surplus value creation?
> Changes in the quality of means of production (and
> the process of moral depreciation) have no relevance
> for understanding the actual amount of value
> transferred by c?
> > Both classes recognize the difference between potential and
> > actual and this often forms the basis of both 'offensive'
> > and 'defensive' struggles by the working class.  E.g. the
> > struggle by workers for a short workweek is, in part (but
> > only generally, partly) a struggle based on a desire to
> > fulfill more of their potential as human beings.
> Absolute surplus value has no relevance for our grasp
> of value?
> > The struggle
> > by others in capitalist society is also based on their
> > recognition as groups and individuals of the discrepancy
> > between their potential and their actual conditions.  Social
> > movements, e.g. the environmental movement, also
> > recognizes this duality.  Indeed, without the recognition
> > that there is a difference between the potential and the
> > actual, then we would all give up hope and there would
> > be no struggles against capital and the state.  But, isn't
> > it in our nature as human beings -- even under the worst
> > conditions -- to hope for better, to see the potential for
> > a better life?
> No relevance for comprehending the 'other' to value?
> I.e. a dynamic that moves in a different direction from
> value?
> > Etc. Etc. Etc.  At every temporal and spatial step there
> > is the possibility and/or the reality of divergences between
> > the actual and the potential.
> The theory of value does not have temporal and spatial
> dimensions?
> > Risk and uncertainty are
> > inherent in all moments of the production and circulation
> > processes and in the reproduction of capital.
> Risk and uncertainty are unrelated to the value-form?
> > The dichotomy
> > between potential and actual is inherent in the money-form,
> > the commodity-form, the capital-form and all other forms
> > associated with capitalism.
> The dialectic of potential/actual has no relevance for form
> analysis?
> Your aswers to the above questions should be illuminating.
> In solidarity, Jerry

Philip Dunn

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