[OPE-L] Abstraction

From: Rakesh Bhandari (bhandari@BERKELEY.EDU)
Date: Tue Jun 12 2007 - 12:53:20 EDT

Michael P and Hans,
What Marx is saying is that commodities cannot be commensurated in
terms of the real laboring activity objectified therein. They can
only be commensurated in so far as exchange abstracts from them as
sensuous concrete objects and handles them as representations of the
simple abstract labor time society on average required to re-produce
them. Once Marx postulates this as the substance of value,  then he
can demonstrate dialectically how one commodity becomes primus inter
pares, i.e. how the money commodity monopolizes the direct or
immediate representation of simple abstract labor. It's exactly
because Ricardo, as a bourgeois individualist, could not create the
concept of abstract labor that he did not understand in terms of the
representation of what money derived its power, its real power to
create even a general crisis. The classical economists blithely
dismissed the fetishism of gold  as mercantilist illusion. It's also
true that the "neo Ricardians" who dismiss as metaphysical Marx's
theory of the substance of value as abstract labor have never
bothered to understand the connection between this theory and his
understanding of money, though Marx insists on it in his critique of
Ricardo.  Kuruma understood the connection; Rubin actually does not
say much about money!

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