Re: [OPE-L] Capital in General

From: Andrew Brown (A.Brown@LUBS.LEEDS.AC.UK)
Date: Tue Oct 18 2005 - 17:25:54 EDT

Yes - we are on similar lines. As you rightly say, following Marx, any individual commodity has an ideal price, prior to sale, which expresses its value and makes it a value prior to sale (though sale is precarious and value may be lost if sale cannot eventually be effected). Thus any individual commodity is an actual value prior to sale (but this value only has an ideal form of expression prior to sale). Sticking with this persepctive, then it is the form of expression of value (which I also refer to as the power conferred by value, generalised purchasing power), which is made real by sale. This is indeed the 'realisation' of value but note how easy it is to misinterpret 'realisation' as meaning that value itself does not exist, and therefore has to be made real, prior to sale. The situation is similar with 'use-value'. Use value is only 'realised' in actual use (consumption) but nevertheless the commodity is a use-value prior to its consumption.
We could quibble further about the word 'exist': if existence means 'has an inherent material expression' then value in its immediacy has no such inherent expression - it is immediately utterly non-sensuous - but it gains an ideal expression in price - so if we say value exists then we must recognise that it exists through reflection, through medition, through its ideal expression in price, in a way that ordinary things do not. 
So any individual commodity, through such reflection, exists as a value prior to actual sale. It does not have to be sold to be a value. But now consider what I have been calling the system-wide perspective, where we consider the generality of commodities across the economy (and we correspondingly consider a longer span of time). If these can be values only through reflection, then money must exist simultaneously to them and so a large proportion of them must continually exchange with money, i.e. be sold. So, there is a sense, when taking this persepctive, in which we can say that commodities (a large proportion of them) must be sold if value if to exist. Indeed, the system will in any case collapse (value along with it) if generalised exchange through money ceases to occur.
Many thanks,
-----Original Message----- 
From: OPE-L on behalf of Paul Bullock 
Sent: Tue 18/10/2005 19:41 
Subject: Re: [OPE-L] Capital in General

	it may well have been how  the question was expressed as i took it up.
	Clearly value and surplus value exist simultaneously, are expressed by
	their concrete form of appearances, BUT as you seem also to say... value and
	surplus value has to be produced BEFORE the concrete forms taken on by value
	can arise from the subsequent exchanges between product and money . If you
	are saying that at any one time, at the very moment of production, the
	extant social arrangements already determine the exact distribution of
	surplus value both in specific forms and quantities, then there would seem
	to be a loss of any concept of struggle between classes.
	First value is produced, and must exist before sale - so I agree with you -
	Marx ridicules those who imagine that goods have no price ( an ideal price
	as Marx calls it both in the Grundrisse and Vol 1), and money no value,
	before exchange . If you want the refs I can send them. BUT of course if the
	product is not sold, its value is not realised and a money 'recalculation'
	takes place. This is a 'loss' of value, not the denial of its previous
	production - otherwise the capitalist would not speak of a loss.
	----- Original Message -----
	From: "Andrew Brown" <A.Brown@LUBS.LEEDS.AC.UK>
	Sent: Tuesday, October 18, 2005 2:54 PM
	Subject: Re: [OPE-L] Capital in General
	> Paul,
	> Nope. From the perpsective of the system as whole money, profit, wages and
	interest must (and do) all exist simultaneusly to value and surplus value.
	> Value and surplus value must reflect themselves in money categories
	(essence must appear) which requires the simultaneous exitsence of those
	> You probably have in mind thinking of a production period for the system
	as a whole, in which case as you say 'obviously' we have a temporal
	sequence. That is, taking a 'system-wide' perspective can mean different
	things depending on context.
	> I am engaging with, e.g. Michael L.'s recent post  (he argued for
	simultaneity), with Rakesh's posts and, more generally, considering the
	debates regarding value theory where a key point is whether and in what
	sense value exists prior to actual sale. Many deny that it does so. It then
	seems to me difficult to think in terms of a production period. How can we
	think in these terms (insofar as we are thinking of value production) if
	value doesn't exist prior to sale? Hence I am trying to answer this question
	whilst retaining the important insight that essence must appear.
	> Many thanks,
	> Andy
	> Andrew,
	> the realisation of surplus value in its different forms is obviously
	> temporal, the productive worker does not create rent per se. This is the
	> case for the system as a whole and the individual circuit.
	> Paul Bullock

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