Re: [OPE-L] resnick and wolff on the commodity form

From: Ian Wright (wrighti@ACM.ORG)
Date: Mon Dec 19 2005 - 20:08:30 EST

Hans wrote

>A Critical Realist would say that this is an illicit
>conflation of the real and the actual.  The goal of the
>scientist is not primarily to identify the *processes* that
>influence other processes but above all to identify the
>underlying "generative mechanisms" which both enable and
>necessitate the visible phenomena.  And even in a totality
>in which everything depends on everything and therefore no
>process can be seen in isolation, such underlying generative
>mechanisms can be isolated, and they have varying degrees of
>permanence and urgency.  If this is determinism then let's
>all be determinists.

Yes I agree. E.g., the social relations of simple commodity production
are the mechanism of the law of value that generates the surface
phenomenon of prices proportional to labour time. This occurs via
global feedback mechanisms that constrain local incomes, and is robust
even when the local  evaluations of commodity prices are random.
Here's an example of how the identification of a generative mechanism
tells us that some factors are more important than others in
explaining surface phenomena, in this case prices under simple
commodity production. Subjective evaluations are not the primary cause
of the surface phenomena. Marx uses this idea a lot -- that the
dynamics of social relations, the social architecture of capitalism,
is a more important explanatory factor, than, say, subjectivity.
Social being determines consciousness etc.


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