RE: [OPE] question re published letters Engels

From: Paul Cockshott <>
Date: Sat May 09 2009 - 17:40:59 EDT

I dont see that this is inconsistent with what I am saying. Engels says:
 Das Verhältnis von Arbeit zu Produkt drückt sich vor der Warenproduktion und nach ihr nicht mehr in der Form von Wert aus"

I am saying that the social labour embodied will no longer take on the 'value form', ie, the exchange value form in which the labour is expressed in a quantity of some other commodity, but will instead be directly marked as so many hours of average labour.
From: [] On Behalf Of John Milios []
Sent: Saturday, May 09, 2009 6:50 PM
To: Outline on Political Economy mailing list
Subject: Re: [OPE] question re published letters Engels

Hi Howard,

The passage from Engels' letter is as follows:

"Ähnlich machst Du es mit dem Wert. Der jetzige Wert ist der der
Warenproduktion, aber mit Abschaffung der Warenproduktion, 'ändert'
sich auch der Wert, d.h. der Wert an sich bleibt, wechselt nur die
Form. In der Tat aber ist der ökonomische Wert eine der
Warenproduktion angehörige Kategorie und verschwindet mit ihr (s.
'Dühring', S. 252-62), wie er vor ihr nicht bestand. Das Verhältnis
von Arbeit zu Produkt drückt sich vor der Warenproduktion und nach ihr
nicht mehr in der Form von Wert aus" (Marx-Engels-Werke, Vol. 36, p.

In solidarity,


On Sat, May 9, 2009 at 5:50 PM, howard engelskirchen <> wrote:
> In Economic Calculation and Forms of Property, Charles Bettelheim quotes a
> paragraph from a letter of Engels to Kautsky of September 20, 1884, relevant
> to recent discussions. But he mentions that in both the English volume,
> Selected Correspondence, and the French, Lettres sur Le Capital, the passage
> he quotes is omitted, though the letter itself is published. Does anyone
> know anything about this? Is the complete letter available online? Here's
> the passage:
> "You make the same make the same mistake with *value*. [According to you -
> C.B.] current value is that of commodity production, but, following the
> abolition of commodity production, value would also be 'changed,' that is to
> say, *value in itself* would continue to exist, and only its form would be
> modified. But in fact, however, economic value is a category specific to
> commodity production, and *disappears* with the latter, as it likewise did
> not exist prior to commodity production. The relation of labour to the
> product, before as after commodity production, is no longer expressed under
> the *value*-form."
> Bettelheim argues that before you can measure anything you have to have a
> theoretical concept of what it is that is measured. If you appropriate
> measurements in value terms, prices or tokens, this speaks to the
> persistence of commodity categories. But measuring in terms of what Engels
> calls elsewhere 'useful effects' requires working out a theoretical space
> where you understand what is being measured. Bettelheim suggests there
> hasn't been much of that sort of advance.
> Notice also that we critique value as a measure because it reduces labor to
> quantity only. For the transition to socialism we would want measurement
> to reflect not only the way social relations were transformed, but also
> labor as the unfolding of capacity, labor as life's prime need. How are
> these dimensions measured?
> howard
> howard engelskirchen
> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Allin Cottrell" <>
> To: "Outline on Political Economy mailing list" <>
> Sent: Friday, May 08, 2009 2:43 PM
> Subject: RE: [OPE] labor tokens and efficiency
>> On Fri, 8 May 2009, GERALD LEVY wrote:
>>> In other words, Bright Red Star will be put at a disadvantage if
>>> they "waste" time on meetings and democratic decision-making.
>> I'd say they're put at a disadvantage only if they in fact waste
>> time (no scare quotes) on meetings etc. If this discussion time
>> is well spent then presumably it will pay off: good ideas will
>> come forward and be implemented, the workforce will have a greater
>> sense of solidarity and common purpose so individuals are less
>> likely to goof off or "just do the minimum", and so on.
>> More generally, a socialist cuture will presumably develop a
>> conception of what is "normal" in terms of discussion time and
>> might even legislate this (a minimum, I mean).
>> What is your theoretical point? I think you're just being
>> contrarian.
>> Allin.
>> _______________________________________________
>> ope mailing list
> _______________________________________________
> ope mailing list

ope mailing list
ope mailing list
Received on Sat May 9 17:46:10 2009

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Sun May 31 2009 - 00:00:03 EDT