[OPE-L:5041] Re: question

riccardo bellofiore (bellofio@cisi.unito.it)
Fri, 16 May 1997 01:22:23 -0700 (PDT)

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At 15:30 -0700 15-05-1997, Michael Williams wrote:
>> Dear Alls,
>> Paul's 4993 make me pose to all of you this question, if you have some
>> to waste.
>> Why, according to you, the value of the commodity output is nothing but
>> labour in Marx?
>> riccardo
>Instead of giving a theoretical reason, I am going to offer various
>explanations why Marx adopted this position:
>1. Everybody was at it. Not just the Scottish Poltical Economists, and the
>French Utopian Socialists but even the English Political Philosophers, and
>indeed Aristotle.
>2. He thus 'saw' that it was so, and desired to given an account of how it
>could be so, even under capitalism (ie post the appropriation of private
>proeprty in land and the accumulation of capital.
>3. He understood capitalism as a specific mode of the exercise of human
>creativity in its relations with nature ('work'), and saw abstract labour
>as the specifically capitalist (not to mention alienated and distorted)
>mode of existence of work.
>It is, thus, a postulate, not a conclusion of his work - although of course
>one brilliantly justified by the totality of his systematic conceptual

I agree on all the poits.

Would you agree that your point 3 is a very special postulate, in the sense
that its being justified by the totatility of his systematic conceptual
presentation, and its being based on a *specific* mode of the exercise of
human creativity in ints relation with nature, work (may I add: in
production?) have very deep consequence on the analytical shape of the

That is: the theory would be different if one takes the postulate as saying
that what matters is human labour transhistorically as the only human
element in production; or if one does not take into account the systematic