[OPE] Karl sez...

From: Jurriaan Bendien <adsl675281@tiscali.nl>
Date: Thu Mar 12 2009 - 11:25:09 EDT

Jerry I pasted up a three quotes from Marx, Cap. Vol. 1, ch. 1 for you to consider:

The relative value of a commodity may vary, although its value remains constant. Its relative value may remain constant, although its value varies; and finally, simultaneous variations in the magnitude of value and in that of its relative expression by no means necessarily correspond in amount. (...)

Our analysis has shown, that the form or expression of the value of a commodity originates in the nature of value, and not that value and its magnitude originate in the mode of their expression as exchange value. This, however, is the delusion as well of the mercantilists and their recent revivers, Ferrier, Ganilh, and others, as also of their antipodes, the modern bagmen of Free-trade, such as Bastiat. (...)

Every product of labour is, in all states of society, a use value; but it is only at a definite historical epoch in a society's development that such a product becomes a commodity, viz., at the epoch when the labour spent on the production of a useful article becomes expressed as one of the objective qualities of that article, i.e., as its value. It therefore follows that the elementary value form is also the primitive form under which a product of labour appears historically as a commodity, and that the gradual transformation of such products into commodities, proceeds pari passu with the development of the value form. (...) http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1867-c1/ch01.htm#S3

The whole argument of Capital Vol. 3 is premised on the idea that the dynamics (driving forces) of capitalism's movement are sourced precisely in the deviations of prices and values: the attempt to buy below value, sell above value, or sell below market value, with all that entails for the organization of production, be it under the double constraint that, on the one side, everybody tries to do the same thing as (potential) competitors, and on the other side that it takes worktime to create new product-value. Now if you say that value, exchange value, abstract labour and money are just equivalent expressions for the same mystical "value-form", you cannot even have that argument!

The reason and purpose for Marx's form-analysis has in substance nothing to do with Hegelian phenomenology per se, but with explicating the movement and dynamics of the capitalist mode of production, the study of "capital in motion". That is precisely where the Marxists typically fail, because they typically remain imprisoned in the bourgeois ideology about markets and comparative statics. They analyze the manuscript from the perspective of the ruling economics ideology, not from the point of view of what Marx says himself that he intends. In this respect, I have some sympathy for Fred Moseley because at least he is saying "let's have a look at what Marx himself intends to do in all this, let's look at his own method of working, rather than impute an alien purpose, or an interpretation alien to the intention." Why do you think that even many of the most learned and respected Marxists become totally vague, when it comes to defining what the law of value consists in, and what the law of competition consists in, never mind their interaction?


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Received on Thu Mar 12 11:27:23 2009

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