Re: [OPE-L] questions on the interpretation of labour values

From: Rakesh Bhandari (bhandari@BERKELEY.EDU)
Date: Fri Mar 02 2007 - 13:11:41 EST

>Then why not say prices are _the_ necessary mode of expression of
>value?  The 'a' seems to imply that values need to be expressed
>somehow, and prices are one way of doing so, depending on the
>social context.  Which is what I believe.
>There are various levels here:
>1. The labour times required to produce things
>2. "Value" (or "labour value")
>3. Exchange value
>4. Price
>Paul and I tend to favour a terminology in which 1 and 2 are just
>equivalent: "value" means the labour time required.

To be sure, in any mode of production social labor time will have to
be allocated, but there is more to value. In this mode of production
things have value in that  controls often fail to manipulate prices
over or above value, the value of things appearing as a real
property like magnetic attraction. Things in the saddle/And ride
mankind. To the extent that this fetishism would be overcome, value
too would be overcome, no? In other words, by value Marx means more
than labor time required; he refers to an emergent objective illusion
when social relations are mediated by commodities, those commodities
apparently acquiring the pseudo-property of value and  ruling over
their producers. Perhaps this somewhat vague understanding of value
is tied to a humanist/alienation problematic from which Marx did not
break, but as even Lucio Colletti long ago argued, Marx's theory of
value is inseparable from his theory of fetishism. In Anti Duhring
Engels refers to the possibility of organizing production without


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