Re: [OPE-L] Michael Schauerte

From: Michael Schauerte (mikeschauerte@GMAIL.COM)
Date: Fri Apr 27 2007 - 00:23:36 EDT

Hi Fred,

I think that Kuruma is using the term "detour" not to describe the
derivation of money, but the mechanism of the expression of value, and it is
a translation of the German Umweg. The emphasis is on the indirect nature of
this expression, where a commodity cannot express its own value using its
own bodily form (use-value), but can do so by equating another commodity to
itself and using that commodity's use-value as the material to express its
own value. I think in the Penguin edition of Capital, the translator used
the expression "this is a roundabout way of saying" in the part describing
this mediated way that value is expressed, which seems a complete
mistranslation to me. Perhaps "detour" is misleading too, if it suggests
something that there might be a more direct way, because like you said the
magnitudes of value must be observable in some objective and comparable
form, and the only way for this to happen is through the mechanism of
value-expression I just outlined, as value is not something we can see if we
hold a commodity up to the light.

But I don't fully understand what you mean by the "derivation of money" as a
logical deduction from the first two sections. First, I don't understand how
the term "derivation" is being used, and second my understanding is that
Marx sets the task in Sec. 3 of unraveling the "riddle of money" (or of the
money-form) by tracing his way back from the money- or price-form to the
simple form of value, where he observes that mechanism of value-expression
and uncovers the reason that the commodity in the equivalent form has a
magical sort of power by virtue of being posited in that form, so that its
bodily form seems by nature to have the power of direct exchangeability.

I should note, as it might be related, that Kuruma was opposed to reading
Sec. 3 or Chapter 1 as a whole as either a historical unfolding or a purely
logical unfolding of categories, and instead sought to identify the
particular tasks that Marx sets and solves (e.g. the unraveling of the
riddle of the money form).

You'll have to give me a bit more time to think about the second point you
make because it is a view I haven't encountered yet.


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