Re: [OPE-L] Capital in General

From: Andrew Brown (A.Brown@LUBS.LEEDS.AC.UK)
Date: Fri Oct 14 2005 - 07:54:44 EDT

Hi Rakesh,

This is a point I well remember discussing with you in the past. In
effect, by questioning the ontological status of value prior to value
form (prior to exchange for money) you raised (and raise) a problem for
my point of view. This, in fact, is a key part of debate between
value-form theorists vs. others.

Anyway I no longer see this as a problem, or at least feel I have
'solved' the problem as follows:

(1) From a *system-wide* point of view value essence ('contained in' the
relative form) cannot exist without value form [to be precise, this is
the 'appearance' form]. 

(2) From the point of view of any *single individual* or any single
*individual commodity* within the capitalist system then value essence
can and does exist prior to the commodity being exchanged for money.
(Hence value can be destroyed through realisation problems)

One caveat is that the word 'exist' is not particularly precise, or is
being overstretched here. The 'existence' of the value of an individual
commodity (in point 2 above) is not like the 'existence' of material
things. It is an 'existence' acquired only by mediation, only by gaining
appearance form at the system-wide level (in accordance with point 1

Note that (1) says value essence does not exist prior to value form; (2)
says value essence does exist prior to value form.

Both are correct!

Distinguishing system-wide vs. individual perspectives gets us out of
what would otherwise be a flat contradiction. It is this distinction
that I have failed to make in previous conversations with you about this
topic. (I have just written a paper on this distinction, as it happens,
though in a different context to value theory)

Many thanks,


-----Original Message-----
From: OPE-L [mailto:OPE-L@SUS.CSUCHICO.EDU] On Behalf Of Rakesh Bhandari
Sent: 14 October 2005 11:05
Subject: Re: [OPE-L] Capital in General

On Fri, 14 Oct 2005 09:00:15 +0100
  Andrew Brown <A.Brown@LUBS.LEEDS.AC.UK> wrote:
> Michael,
> I think there is a general point here. But will have to work towards
it via discussing
> 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.

Andrew, I don't the C is in itself a form of value while M is in itself
an appearance form of
To use the language of quantum mechanics, Value is itself the system--
the thing being measured and the measurement being
made--rather than being an independent description of the thing being
measured or the thing measuring. Value, in short, may not exist as an
independent unobservable thing or simply as the relative form
of value that can then be transformed into price. Value only exists
at the level of the system.

Value in the relative and general forms are not two substances defined
respective principal attributes but rather movements without
locatable discontinuity where the other is always involved. There is
no cleavage between an unobservable value (relative form of value) and
visible price
(appearance form of value).

I think we are close to saying the same thing but I would not afford the
same reality
to value in just the relative form as I think you are.

Is this a difference?


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