[OPE] Reply to the thinker

From: Jurriaan Bendien <adsl675281@tiscali.nl>
Date: Wed Mar 11 2009 - 08:41:07 EDT


I reject value-form theory not primarily because it has nothing to do with Marx's own theory (although it is obviously parasitic on Marx, constantly referring to Marx), but because it is plainly wrong, empirically, logically and historically.

"Every child knows that any nation that stopped working, not for a year, but let us say, just for a few weeks, would perish. And every child knows, too, that the amounts of products corresponding to the differing amounts of needs, demand differing and quantitatively determined amounts of society's aggregate labour. It is self-evident that this necessity of the distribution of social labour in specific proportions is certainly not abolished by the specific form of social production; it can only change its form of manifestation. Natural laws cannot be abolished at all. The only thing that can change, under historically differing conditions, is the form in which those laws assert themselves." http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1868/letters/68_07_11.htm

"This necessity of the distribution of social labour in specific proportions" led members of so-called primitive communities and early civilizations to form abstractions, valuations and norms about their social labour, aeons before the trite so-called "Marxist" philosophes came along to declare that this never happened, "because the value-form can ontologically only exist in capitalism".

These "abstractions, valuations and norms" in primitive communities and early civilizations moreover played a very important role in forming the market values of the commodities they did trade.

You will argue for example that there were "no commodities in the Aztec empire", ignoring a mountain of evidence to the contrary, simply because according to your tyranny of metaphysical definitions, it was "not meaningful" for commodities to exist in the Aztec empire. In other words, if historical experience does not confrom to your concept, historical experience does not exist. Well, that's a mighty fine "historical materialism".

These days, however, we have plenty research evidence available from archeologists, palaeontologists, anthropologists and historians allowing us to replace half-baked "Marxist philosophies" with facts and careful interpretations of facts, which cast the sweeping generalities advanced by the value-form theorists from behind their writings desks in quite a different light.

I have always rejected both productionist-fundamentalist Marxism and circulationist value-form Marxism as incoherent, and I have already explained many times why: simply, these "Marxists" do not understand the difference between the production of value, valorization, and the realisation of value. Either the relations of production are irrelevant in their theory, or market demand is irrelevant, but neither school is able to explicate the relationship between the two, and neither school has a good reply to Marx's intelligent critics. Neither school has a convincing theory of capitalist dynamics.


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Received on Wed Mar 11 08:43:46 2009

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