[OPE-L:5005] Re: Production and Circulation

Paul Cockshott (wpc@cs.strath.ac.uk)
Wed, 14 May 1997 02:29:39 -0700 (PDT)

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M Williams
> Well now, it is clear that what is at issue is what is the horse and what
> is the cart (and look out when the beast starts to lift its tail ...).
> me (and for my reading of Marx, that does I admit involve making a series
> of choices about which passages should be accepted more or less as are,
> which have to be tortuously interpreted or explained away), this poly
> whatsit stuff that Paul is talking about is, if anything, a
> condition of the possibility of the emergence of abstract labour as the
> (a?) key category for grasping capitalism. We would wait a long time for
> the actual manifestation of abstract labour if it were to depend on
> flexibility and mobility of labour that even in the evil eighties and
> nauseous nineties has barely begun to be realised.

P Cockshott
The whole mechanism of the law of value depends upon labour
mobility. Without it no law of value at all.

The basic mechanism of the law of value is that when commodities
sell below their value, labour is withdrawn from their production
and consequent shortages bring the price back into line with
their value.

What a commodity sells for is not its value, sale most definitely
does not validate value, since the selling price can be above or below
As Marx emphasised in Notes on Wagner, commodities prices have
nothing to do with determining their values. On the contrary
it is values that validate prices. Prices are only valid in the
long run when they are conformity with values, and the law of
value constantly drives them into such conformity.