[OPE-L:2455] RE: NB: conlee

Michael Williams (100417.2625@compuserve.com)
Mon, 3 Jun 1996 17:14:05 -0700

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In an Exchange with Gil, Chai-on writes:


Could you point out the exact place of Marx's stipulation [that a commodity is
necessarily produced for exchange]? And how about the following statement of

Michael W:

It is strictly implicit in his discussion of the forms of value in Capital vol
1, ch.1; and clear in Capital as a whole, read as fragments of a dialectical

"Things which in and for themselves are not commodities, things such
as conscience, honour, etc. can be offered for sale by their holders,
and thus acquire the form of commodities through their price. Hence a
thing can, formally speaking, have a price without having a value. The
expression of price is in this case imaginary, like certain quantities in
mathematics. On the other hand, the imaginary price-form may also
conceal a real value-relation or one derived from it, as for instance the
price of uncultivated land, which is without value because no human
labor is objectified in it." (Capital vol 1, p 197, Pelican edition)

Michael W.:

I would interpret 'the form of commodities' here as meaning phenomenal form, as
if they were commodities. (This may be a case for checking the original.) The
rest of the passage, refering to price with no value, being without value
because no human labour is objectified in it, can also be read (with a
value-form rectification) as indicating other characteristics of things traded
as though they were commodities, but lacking other necessary moments of the
commodity form.

Comradely greetings,

Michael W.