Re: [OPE-L] Question

From: Francisco Paulo Cipolla (cipolla@UFPR.BR)
Date: Fri Apr 13 2007 - 17:03:06 EDT

Hi Rakesh,

is the citation below taken from TSV or from a letter written by Engels?
I have not read that text before. Seems more like Marx´s language!

Rakesh Bhandari wrote:

>> There is also a very strong appologetic import to identifying
>> current monetary
>> demand with 'social necessity'.
>> Paul Cockshott
> But there is a kind of social necessity which monetary demand does
> have... Theories of surplus value , part III, disintegration of
> Ricardian school(Engels' letter to Kautsky, Sep. 20, 1884) {In order
> that the commodities may be measured according to the quantity of
> labor embodied in them-and the measure of the quantity of labor is
> time-the different kinds of labor contained in the different
> commodities must be reduced to uniform, simple labor, average labor,
> ordinary, unskilled labor.  Only then can the amount of labor embodied
> in them be measured according to a common measure, according to time.
> The labor must be qualitatively equal so that its differences become
> merely quantitative, merely differences of magnitude.  This reduction
> to simple, average labor is not, however, the only determinant of the
> quality of this labor to which as a unity the values of the
> commodities are reduced.  That the quantity of labor embodied in a
> commodity is the quantity socially necessary for its production-the
> labor-time being thus necessary labor-time-is a definition which
> concerns only the magnitude of value.  But the labor which constitutes
> the substance of value is not only uniform, simple, average labor; it
> is the labor of a private individual represented in a definite
> product. However, the product as value must be the embodiment of
> social labor and, as such, be directly convertible from one use-value
> into all others. (The particular use-value in which labor is directly
> represented is irrelevant so that it can be converted from one form
> into another.)Ċ@Thus the labor of individuals has to be directly
> represented as its opposite, social labor; this transformed labor is,
> as its immediate opposite, abstract, general labor, which is therefore
> represented in a general equivalent, only by its alienation does
> individual labor manifest itself as its opposite. The commodity,
> however, must have this general expression before it is alienated.
> This necessity to express individual labor as general labor is
> equivalent to the necessity of expressing a commodity as money. The
> commodity receives this expression insofar as the money serves as a
> measure and expresses the value of the commodity in its price. It is
> only through sale, through its real transformation into money, that
> the commodity acquires its adequate expression as exchange-value. The
> first transformation is merely a theoretical process, the second is a
> real one.
> Thus, in considering the existence of the commodity as money, it is
> not only necessary to emphasize that in money commodities acquire a
> definite measure of their value-since all commodities express their
> value in the use-value of the same commodity-but that they all become
> manifestations of social, abstract, general labor; and as such they
> all possess the same form, they all appear as the direct incarnation
> of social labor and as such they all act as social labor, that is to
> say, they can be directly exchanged for all other commodities in
> proportion to the size of their value; whereas in the hands of the
> people whose commodities have been transformed into money, they exist
> not as exchange-value in the form of a particular use-value, but as
> use-value (gold, for example) which merely represents exchange-value.
> A commodity may be sold either below or above its value. This is
> purely a matter of the magnitude of its value. But whenever a
> commodity is sold, transformed into money, its exchange-value acquires
> an independent existence, separate from its use-value. The commodity
> now exists only as a certain quantity of social labor-time, and it
> proves that it is such by being directly exchangeable for any
> commodity whatsoever and convertible (in proportion to its magnitude)
> into any use-value whatsoever. This point must not be overlooked in
> relation to money any more than the formal transformation undergone by
> the labor a commodity contains as its element of value. But an
> examination of money-of that absolute exchangeability which the
> commodity possesses as money, of its absolute effectiveness as
> exchange-value which has nothing to do with the magnitude of
> value-shows that it is not quantitatively, but qualitatively
> determined and that as a result of the very process through which the
> commodity itself passes, its exchange-value becomes independent, and
> is really represented as a separate aspect alongside its use-value as
> it is already nominally in its price.This shows, therefore, that the
> "verbal observer" understands as little of the value and the nature of
> money as Bailey, since both regard the independent existence of value
> as a scholastic invention of economists. This independent existence
> becomes even more evident in capital, which, in one of its aspects,
> can be called value in process-and since value only exists
> independently in money, it can accordingly be called money in process,
> as it goes through a series of processes in which it preserves itself,
> departs from itself, and returns to itself increased in volume. It
> goes without saying that the paradox of reality is also reflected in
> paradoxes of speech which are at variance with common sense and with
> what vulgarians mean and believe they are talking of. The
> contradictions which arise from the fact that on the basis of
> commodity production the labor of the individual presents itself as
> general social labor, and the relations of people as relations between
> things and as things-these contradictions are innate in the
> subject-matter, not in its verbal expressions.}
> Ricardo often gives the impression, and sometimes indeed writes, as if
> the quantity of labor is the solution to the false, or falsely
> conceived problem of an "invariable measure of value" in the same way
> as corn, money, wages, etc., were previously considered and advanced
> as panaceas of this kind, In Ricardo's work this false impression
> arises because for him the decisive task is the definition of the
> magnitude of value. Because of this he does not understand the
> specific form in which labor is an element of value, and fails in
> particular to grasp that the labor of the individual must present
> itself as abstract general labor and, in this form, as social labor.
> Therefore he has not understood that the development of money is
> connected with the nature of value and with the determination of this
> value by labor-time.
> Bailey's book has rendered a good service insofar as the objections he
> raises help to clear up the confusion between "measure of value"
> expressed in money as a commodity along with other commodities, and
> the immanent measure and substance of value. But if he had analyzed
> money as a "measure of value", not only as a quantitative measure but
> as a qualitative transformation of commodities, he would have arrived
> at a correct analysis of value. Instead of this, he contents himself
> with a mere superficial consideration of the external "measure of
> value"-which already presupposes value-and remains rooted in a purely
> frivolous approach to the question.

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