Re: [OPE-L] Capital in General

From: Andrew Brown (A.Brown@LUBS.LEEDS.AC.UK)
Date: Fri Oct 14 2005 - 04:00:15 EDT

I think there is a general point here. But will have to work towards it via discussing specifics:
You wrote
         I'm not certain about the significance
you attribute to 'appearance form' vs form. 
I reply: in the first four chs we find that M (universal equivalent) is *appearance* form of value because it is socially validated as reflecting the value of C (the relative form of value). C, on the other hand, is a form of value, but not an *appearance* form of value because all that *appears* are its material properties, not its value. Value is inherently (immediately) invisible but for this reason value must reflect itself (in something visible) if it is to take effect and hence exist at all. Society validates money as the appearance form of value - the palpable sensuous material properties of money are given the social significance of representing the value of all other diverse commodities. So in M-C-M' we have appearance form - form - appearance form. Of course, with M-C-M' we have self-expanding value, not just value.
Notably, this makes the bald statement that 'value is invisible', or more generally 'essence is invisible' one-sided, because the corollary has to be that essence *must* appear, and we should really therefore include the appearance as a contradictory aspect of essence. (Appearance is essential to essence).
You continue:
capitalist exploitation must take the form of
money. Are you suggesting that this undercuts the
distinction between the inner structure of
capital and the surface phenomena that for Marx
are related as the invisible to the visible?

I reply: not 'undercuts' but surely makes more complex? One question would be: is the relationship between value as invisible essence and money as visbile appearance form of value the same as the relation between surplus value as essence and profit (etc.) as appearance form of surplus value? 
Many thanks,
Recall, eg., the quotes from Vol III:

>Surplus-value and the rate of surplus-value are…
>the invisible essence to be investigated,
>whereas the rate of profit and hence the form of
>surplus-value as profit are visible surface phenomena (Marx, 1981b: 134).
>Profit is ‘the form of appearance of
>surplus-value, and the latter can be sifted out
>from the former only by analysis’ (Marx, 1981b:
>139).  Profit is ‘a transformed form of surplus
>value, a form in which its origin and the secret
>of its existence are veiled and obliterated.’

         in sol,
Michael A. Lebowitz
Professor Emeritus
Economics Department
Simon Fraser University
Burnaby, B.C., Canada V5A 1S6

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