[OPE] Reply to Geert Reuten

From: Jurriaan Bendien <adsl675281@tiscali.nl>
Date: Tue Mar 10 2009 - 14:37:29 EDT

But, Jerry, why should I take seriously the conceptual tinkering of Marxist philosophes who are ignorant of human history, when their "innovations" have almost nothing to do with the real historical experience of the human race?

I am very aware that Marx writes:

"... let us take communal labour in its spontaneously evolved form as we find it among all civilised nations at the dawn of their history. In this case the social character of labour is evidently not effected by the labour of the individual assuming the abstract form of universal labour or his product assuming the form of a universal equivalent." http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1859/critique-pol-economy/ch01.htm

But from this it does not follow, that labour in "civilised nations at the dawn of their history" did not have a social character. Nor does it follow that these nations did not practice an "economy of labour-time", and were incapable of thinking about, and practically treating labour-time in an abstract way.

Marx means that a community of private producers working independently of each other has economically speaking no way of knowing how to adjust their production activities and output volume to each other, than via the trading-value of their products ("market signals"). By bringing their products into relation with each other, using money, they simultaneously value each other's labour-efforts according to a general principle of equivalence. Private labour is acknowledged and valued as part of social labour, through the exchange process.

This is about as much as Marxists can understand, but for thinkers, the real question is now how "the economy of market trade" and "the economy of labour-time" concretely adjust to each other, given that labour is directly social within the producing enterprise. That is where my analysis of the substance of abstract labor kicks in.

For Marxists, the analysis of abstract labour stops at the factory gate, because it has only to do with the exchange of "the commodity". They have a theory of circulation, of not production. The value-form theorists are concerned only with the forms of manifestation of value, not its content. In fact, there is no content, only forms, because value is money, and money is abstract labour, it is all the same thing. It is a banale and crude theory. For thinkers, it is moreover a reification of the concept of abstract labour. Indeed, Marxism is the reification of Marx. That is partly I think why Marx said "I am not a Marxist".


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