[OPE-L] Albritton on Marx's value theory and subjectivity

From: Jurriaan Bendien (adsl675281@TISCALI.NL)
Date: Mon Apr 17 2006 - 14:56:11 EDT

Thanks for the quote, Chris. Marx does suggest here that, from the
standpoint of the valorisation process, i.e. at a high level of abstraction,
"capital is in and for itself indifferent towards the specificity of every
sphere of production", but that is just to say that what matters *in a
financial regime* is costs, sales revenue and profit, no matter what is
produced. And further, more substantively, that the developmental impulse of
capital is to remove "all legal and extra-economic obstacles to the
versatility we are discussing".

Yet Marx acknowledges here also "One cannot make any boots with spindles,
cotton, and spinners", i.e. use-value cannot be ignored from an economic or
technical point of view in real production. The use-value aspect is however
abstracted from "in order to present the laws of political economy in their
purity". But again, that does not mean that in reality the use-value aspect
can be, or is disregarded. Marx does not say here *capitalists* are so
indifferent, only that *capital* as self-valorising value is indifferent.

The credibility of the "indifference" argument hinges on the question
"indifference to what, and from what point of view". The substance of the
indifference idea is, that if goods are produced for exchange, rather than
immediate use, then producing them is not an end in itself, but only a means
to an end, i.e. to obtain income in order to buy other goods, and that is
how it is looked upon.

But what Marx overlooks is that this indifference may itself become a
practical problem, and that a great deal of management effort goes into
combatting that indifference - this would be particularly true in a services


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