[OPE-L:701] Re: skip Part 1?

Paul Zarembka (ECOPAULZ@ubvms.cc.buffalo.edu)
Sun, 10 Dec 1995 12:40:43 -0800

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Sorry, in the process of on-line editing (which is the only way I'm
on e-mail) I got myself into more trouble than clarity. Originally I had
written "no reason to label" then changed it to "no reason to bifurcate"
and I should have stayed with the former. I was talking about forms of
expression indicative of an Hegeliaism (as some might have gathered
from the next sentence in my message). I DO NOT subscribe to a view that
the usefulness of a commodity and its value are THE SAME THING nor do I
subscribe to a view to ignore EITHER value or usefulness.

Maybe I'll also remember where Althusser discusses this issue, but please
do not dismiss Althusser so easily (or even myself--if you don't mind a
little bit of self-respect to be thrown out on the list).

In any case, thanks for calling attention to a wording which might have
had others puzzled.

Paul Zarembka, State University of New York at Buffalo


On Sun, 10 Dec 1995 Steve.Keen@unsw.edu.au wrote:

> Paul attempts to whet our appetites for Althusser's propositions re
> the problematic nature of Part I of Capital with:
> |consider the
> |division between use-value and exchange-value of a commodity. Now there
> |is absolutely no reason bifurcate value into use- and exchange- value.
> |Why not label the first utility or usefulness or something of the sort?
> This could almost have been a quote from Adolph Wagner on Capital,
> except that Wagner would have argued that utility was the true source
> of value, whereas Marx, according to Wagner, focused on exchange-value
> to the exclusion of use-value. On this, Marx satirically commented:
> "Rodbertus had written a letter to him ... where he,
> Rodbertus, explains why `there is only one kind of value', use
> value... Wagner says: `This is completely correct, and
> necessitates an alteration in the customary illogical
> 'division' of 'value' into *use-value and
> exchange value*'... and this same Wagner places me among the
> people according to whom `use-value' is to be completely
> `dismissed' `from science'." (Wagner, pp. 197-98.)
> Marx later states that, far from being an irrelevance to his analysis,
> use-value is a crucial component of his thinking:
> "Secondly, only an obscurantist, who has not understood a
> word of *Capital*, can conclude: Because Marx, in a note to
> the first edition of *Capital*, overthrows all the German
> professorial twaddle on `use-value' in general, and refers
> readers who want to know something about actual use-value to
> `commercial guides',--therefore, *use-value* does not play
> any role in his work..." (Wagner, p. 198-99.)
> He concludes a long statement of the manifestations of
> use-value within his logic:
> "On the other hand, the obscurantist has overlooked that my
> analysis of the commodity does not stop at the dual mode in which
> the commodity is presented, [but] presses forward [so] that in
> the dual nature of the commodity there is presented the twofold
> *character* of *labour*, whose product it is:
> *useful* labour, i.e., the concrete modes of labour, which
> create use values, and abstract *labour, labour as the
> expenditure of labour-power*,.. that *surplus value*
> itself is derived from a `specific' *use-value of
> labour-power* which belongs to it exclusively etc etc., that
> hence with me use value plays an important role completely
> different than [it did]] in previous [political] economy..."
> With respect, if you believe with Althusser that there is
> "is absolutely no reason bifurcate value into use- and
> exchange- value" then you are, in Marx's own words,
> "an obscurantist, who has not understood a word of *Capital*"
> Cheers,
> Steve Keen