Re: [OPE-L] A startling quotation from Engels

From: Paul Cockshott (wpc@DCS.GLA.AC.UK)
Date: Sat Aug 25 2007 - 11:03:23 EDT

Jurrian, please top calling me Prof Cockshott, it is inappropriate and inaccurate

Paul Cockshott

-----Original Message-----
From: OPE-L on behalf of Jurriaan Bendien
Sent: Sat 8/25/2007 3:11 PM
Subject: [OPE-L] A startling quotation from Engels
For the record, I agree completely with Prof. Cockshott that:

1 - abstract social labour is a feature of all modes of production in which
there is some form of social cooperation.
2 - Marx distinguishes sharply between value and its historical form of
expression, exchange value.
3 - The social cost of production under both capitalism and socialism is
'value', not just because it represents a quantity of social labour, but
because the meaning of "social cost" cannot even be specified without
reference to "value".

As regards the above three propositions,

a) There is very strong textual evidence that Marx and Engels believed this
themselves, in their published and unpublished writings,
b) There is also very strong historical-anthropological evidence for it.
c) There is very strong logical evidence for these distinctions, since
Marxian value theory becomes incoherent if they are rejected.


1) I deny being a Marxist, or an accredited Professor.
2) I think Marx regarded labour-value and abstract labour as
"transhistorically evolving" categories, i.e. the social meaning of the
fact, that a product had value which represented a quantity of social
labour, was subject to both continuities and discontinuities through
3) I reject the Marxist distinctions between historical and transhistorical
categories, because they are not based on any historical and
scientific-empirical research, it is just metaphysical generalities.
4) If abstract labour is regarded by Marxists, like commercial economists do
(unit labour costs etc.), only as an effect of market-exchange (Rubin's
third dimension of abstract labour), far too much importance is given to
markets as the cause for thinking abstractly about human labour, and
treating it in an abstract way.
5) In the typical Marxist way, through falsifying Marx, much more power is
given to markets to accomplish all kinds of things than are really due to
markets themselves, which could not exist at all without a large amount of
non-market cooperation. Scientifically and practically speaking, "the
market" does not create everything that its Marxist supporters claim it


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