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

From: Gerald_A_Levy@MSN.COM
Date: Thu Feb 17 2005 - 13:09:16 EST

Hi Phil:

> 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.

Right.  But, as you emphasized on Tuesday (2/15),  "the role of use-value
is very wide in Marx"  -- a point I indicated already that I was in
agreement with.  The point is there there are both essential and
non-essential connections that can be made between these topics and value.
E.g. I consider the intensity of labor to be a constitutive element of value
because it is shapes and changes SNLT.  Similarly,  work is a constitutive
element of value because commodities are labor products.

> 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
> process.

The actuality/potential dimension that you raised (in the same 2/15 post)
was between labour-power and labour (remember the 2 X 2 table?).

> 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'.

Perhaps I  _was_ using the potential/actual distinction too loosely in an
everyday sense.  I was simply trying to make what I took to be a point
that we could agree on: i.e. that the potential/actual dialectic is
fundamental to the value relation and can be identified at many
temporal moments in the valorization process.   If we grasp this
dialectic we can also see how the valorization process can not be
understood as an equilibrium process -- a point I believe that
we also agree on.  I.e. by understanding this dynamic we can
systematically identify the causes of  likely 'disruptions' in the
process of the reproduction of capital and thereby see that
reproduction does not happen in a 'smooth' and predictable

I think the more likely cause for confusion is that we go tend to go
about looking at questions somewhat differently.  You might claim
that your approach -- which often employs numerical illustrations
and/or math -- is more focused.  It probably is.  In examining
a question, I try to keep the entire subject in focus, rather than
just focusing in on a narrower sub-question.  The reason I prefer
to do this is that it allows one to identify the interconnective
forms of a subject and then attempt to put a question in the
context of the larger subject.  Call it a "holistic" approach if
you like or call it just a difference in the way in which we
attempt to problem solve.  The above is in way intended
as a criticism of your mode of problem-solving -- it works for
you and many others.  I don't try to avoid your questions nor
do I think you are avoiding mine.  It's just that our preferred
form of problem-solving tends to be different.  However, I can
readily understand that it can sometimes result in frustration
and our occasionally  talking past one another.

In solidarity, Jerry

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