[OPE-L:5003] Re: Production and Circulation

riccardo bellofiore (bellofio@cisi.unito.it)
Wed, 14 May 1997 01:44:42 -0700 (PDT)

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At 9:38 -0700 13-05-1997, Paul Cockshott wrote:

>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.

This is Sweezy reading of abstract labour. Colletti criticized it in his
essay on Bernstein in From Rousseau to Lenin, Verso. I think his criticism
was sound.
Did you see it?

>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.

No, I want to have it both ways: the intersection, and the priority of
production! I think the intersection would be at the end of Marx's
theoretical construction, which starts from the priority of the production
of value over its actualization. And I think this construction is sound if
the intersection does not destroy the priority of production in some
meaningful sense. However, I agree with you that recent Marxism stressing
too much the 'intersection' issue is losing something truly important in