[OPE-L:4993] Re: Production and Circulation

Paul Cockshott (wpc@cs.strath.ac.uk)
Tue, 13 May 1997 09:38:31 -0700 (PDT)

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> From: riccardo bellofiore <bellofio@cisi.unito.it>
> To: Multiple recipients of list <ope-l@anthrax.ecst.csuchico.edu>
> Subject: [OPE-L:4992] Re: Production and Circulation
> Date: 13 May 1997 16:53
> If Colletti's and
> Rubin's view according to which the abstraction of labour is actually
> realized in exchange - a point of view which I think is shared by most
> people on this list (and, BTW, also by myself) - how can we sum up the
> various private labours expended in production? To the question: what
> capitalism is, the answer usually given is: "the exchange of commodities
> for money". That's why it is not possible to divorce value from money.
> note, in this argument the labour expended in the various spheres of
> production are nothing but concrete labours, before exchange.

Paul C:
In my view this is really putting the cart before the horse.
It is the fact that human labour is a polymorphous productive
capacity that makes it abstract, not the commodity form of its
product. The abstraction of labour is realised whenever people
change jobs. It is this, and only this that gives abstract labour
any meaning. If people could not change jobs, it would make no
sense to abstract from what they are presently doing and treat
their time alone as a social resource. If they could not change
jobs, but were genetically programmed to perform the same thing,
a market system would be impossible.

> But if this is how matters stand, how can it be said that there is a
> priority of the production of value over its expression circulation, so
> that we can say: labour produces value, value is expressed in money? This
> other sequence seems to be quite Marxian as the other: value is actually
> born at the intersection of production and circulation, labours become
> socially homogeneous in exchange, there is no quantitative magnitude of
> value before exchange. Before exchange we have only a qualitative
> about the exclusive productivity of labour, where it is not clear how
> different labours can be made equal before exchange.

Different labours are equal prior to the exchange of their products
to the extent that people can move from one activity to another, either
directly as individuals or between the generations.

> Suggestion: may be there is a problem here in Marx, because both
> are in Marx. The problem is to ground a position where value is born at
> intersection of production and circulation without cancelling the
> of the production of value over its realization. It is not easy, because
> there seems to be a logical contradiction here.
It is not easy as you want to sneak an almost neo-classical conception of
in the back door with this talk of value being born at the intersection
of production and exchange.