Re: [OPE] Understanding value (reply to Michael Heinrich)

From: Ian Wright <>
Date: Tue May 05 2009 - 10:49:59 EDT

> A demand to "abolish value" is the same as a demand to abolish capitalist
> social relations of production.

I think this is a succinct summary of the political consequences of
value-form theory. And it seems wrong-headed to me.

 - It's not possible to abolish the law of value, even with
astronomical increases in labor productivity, unless coupled with
active suppression of material progress.
 - Capitalist social relations of production are not identical with
the market or a particular form of value (money). These long predated
the arrival of capitalism.

At the abstract level we cannot simply will ourselves into the realm
of freedom. We'll have one foot in the realm of necessity for a long
time to come. Some labor and its fruits will need to be rationed. A
good way of doing that is on the principle of the equality of all our
labors. Market exchange mediated by money in a classless society can
realize that principle for those goods and services that are either
new, experimental, costly, scarce etc.

Capitalist social relations of production are a specific social
relation within production (not exchange), i.e. the wage-capital
relation enforced by the contractual relations of the capitalist firm.

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Received on Tue May 5 10:52:17 2009

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