[OPE-L:2189] Re: Chapter 5 and before

Michael Williams (100417.2625@compuserve.com)
Mon, 13 May 1996 16:29:29 -0700

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In reply to Andrew who said:

I think the question really boils down to
your category of "successful commodities." I suppose you mean by this
commodities that are sold.

Michael W:
1. Yes, a successful commodity is one which is sold for a price which covers its
costs plus an 'adequate' profit.

Andrew then said:
Now, I certainly recognize the distinction
between commodities that are sold and those that aren't, but firms do
record the values of commodities produced before they are sold. So do
GDP accounts. Many firms "sell" commodities later to be used as inputs
to themselves. If value were a market phenomenon, all this would be
impossible. Capitalist business accounting would be impossible.

Michael W.
2. The last two sentences do not follow from the foregoing. Of course capital's
agents put a price on their stocks, as do GDP accounts, and transfer them
between processes at these prices. But this is all done via processes of
'pre-commensuration' with reference to expected and experienced market prices,
as well as accounting imputations and Taylorist quantifications of the labour
process, etc, etc. These calculations are done in terms of experienced and
expected market prices, and/or natural units (x machines of type A, y labour of
type B, z units of raw material C, etc.)
That these lackeys calculate in terms of anything as impossible to grasp, or
quantify prior to systemic, repeated, market exchanges (and thus the emergence
of prices) as 'abstract labour' (or that their firms would be very succcessful
capitals if they did) seems to me as fanciful as imagining purchasers of
commodities calculate their expected satisfaction in 'utils'.

Michael W:

Now all this requires a system in which things (as well as labor-power)
are exchangeable in general. I don't think the issue of valuation
can be *reduced* to that, however, as Michael seemed to be saying with
the word "only" (written twice).


3. So, why not?
(Sorry about the redundant 'only' ... .)

Michael W.