[OPE-L:5037] Re: Production and Circulation

riccardo bellofiore (bellofio@cisi.unito.it)
Fri, 16 May 1997 01:01:38 -0700 (PDT)

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At 5:20 -0700 14-05-1997, Chai-on Lee wrote:
>At 01:44 97-05-14 -0700, Riccardo wrote:
>>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.
>May I put a question here,
>What is meant by the intersection of production and exchange ? What is the
>intersection of day and night ? Is it morning or evening ? In the case of
>the production and exchange, what is meant by the intersection? This is a
>very vague terminology, IMO.

Dear Chai-on,

let me quote here Michel de Vroey, in Steedman et al, The Value
Controversy, p. 177:

"In this interpretation, the concept of value points to an *articulation*
of production and circulation. It cannot be seen as a production theory, as
in the Ricardian interpretation, since in the absence of circulation - that
is, of sale - there is no *creation* of value at all. The transformation of
private into social labours occurs only thorugh exchange. On the other
hand, however, *this is not a pure circulation theory, because once there
is a sale and thus a creation of value*, the magnitude of value depends on
the average conditions of production prevailing at the point of exchange.
Exchange creates value but production determines the magnitude of value."

In the footnote: "I dislike the expression 'realization of value' precisely
because it suggests that value already exists before veing realized and
that it is a permanent property of commodities, embodied in them. For me,
on the contrary, only a pretence of value (potential) exists before
exchange. Furthermore, the existence of value is an instantaneous reality,
confined to the moment of exchange"

This I meant as the intersection of production and circulation. Here, the
idea put forward by Duncan that "value is created in production through the
expenditure of living labor, and realized in circulation when commodities
are exchanged against money" is implicitly denied. De Vroey position has a
family resemblance with Mike W's, which wrote that "abstract labour is
constituted in the circulation of products as commodities through
production and exchange"; and who, more radically (but rightly in this
approach!) holds that even the magnitude of value is determined only within
actual exchange. From here I find a little problematic to say that exchange
creates more or less value than in production because value is created only
in exchange.

Let me repeat myself:

(i) I hold that Duncan's is a faithful representation of Marx

(ii) the same for de Vroey

(iii) in as much as Duncan's (but also look at Simon Mohun's
interpretation) bases his view on Colletti (who id quoted by him), he seems
however to be forced to go towards the de Vroey interpretation

(iv) unless one has some reason to say that the expenditure of living
labour crates value already in production before circulation. But how since
there is Mike W's problem (a good problem!) that direct labours before
actual exchange are not homogeneous?

If you want simply a hint of (the starting of) my position, it is the

(a) I think the problem must be first tackled discussing what nature has
the labour which is the substance of value;

(b) from there we can deepen Colletti's interpretation of abstract labour

(iii) but this deepening, while forces to say that abstract labour is
deduced by Marx already in production, forces also to ground this
abstraction of labour in production on a monetary process, the finance to
production by money capital

(iv) this finance by money capital is inherently symbol-money

(v) this view forces to recognize that the capitalist class de facto
decides the composition of output, and hence the real wage bill before

(vi) from here, it is possible to state that the (potential) value is
determined in magnitude before circulation, and that the rate of surplus
value is given in something very close to the labour embodied view, though
on quite different theoretical groundings and with quite different

In this way the priority of production is confirmed in the relevant sense,
but the value/form of value determination in a single-system is not denied
- on the contrary.

But I think the most interesting thing would be for now if some others
participants start answering my question some post ago.


P.S.: my other post to Paul C's about Colletti is relevant here