[OPE-L] Another comment on James Furner's paper

From: Hans G. Ehrbar (ehrbar@LISTS.ECON.UTAH.EDU)
Date: Wed Mar 02 2005 - 02:04:15 EST

The second passage in James's paper I want to comment upon
is shorter than the first.  On p. 104 of his paper, James

> It is only once one reaches the general form of value
> ... that Marx claims value is really expressed

and then James brings the following Marx quote to back this

> By this form [the general form] commodities are, for the
> first time, really brought into relation with each other
> as values, or permitted to appear to each other as
> exchange-values.

In my reading, this Marx quote does not say that this is the
first time value is *expressed*.  When the linen weaver
accepts a coat for her 20 yards of linen, she does express
the value of her linen in the use-value of the coat.  What
Marx wants to say, in that passage, is that this is the
first time that the expression of value establishes a
relation between the commodities that allows them to relate
with each other as values.

Is it the first time that value is *really* expressed?
The German word is "wirklich," which means, literally,
"effectively".  One can indeed say this is the first
time that the expression of value can have an effect.
That is what one needs, because the value relations
are mediated through the market.  This is the first time
the expressions of value have the information the
producers need to equalize their labors.


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