[OPE-L:5056] Re: Value form analysis

riccardo bellofiore (bellofio@cisi.unito.it)
Sat, 17 May 1997 08:20:09 -0700 (PDT)

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Dear Chai-on,

your letter raises good points (and you were not led astray by my
confusion on 'before production' instead of 'before circulation'!). On what
is to be done, we are nearer that it seems. But you seem not to see that
Marx's assertion that the magnitude of value is determined before
circulation is problematic in Marx's own terms. My impression is that you
are able to judge it this way because you redefine the notion of abstract
labour and valuerelative to Marx - or, if you prefer, because you do not
interpret some passages of Marx in the way Mike W and I do. My personal way
out is not the same as de Vroey, but is forced by the will to think
seriously the problems he raise in his papers. May be I'll give you a few
specific answers later on.


At 20:13 -0700 16-05-1997, Chai-on Lee wrote:
>Replies to Riccardo Bellofiore and Mike williams,
>1. Riccardo asked, "Any examples?" to my argument: In value form analysis,
>the mag. of value can be increased by the act of exchange. This is a big
>difference from the Jerry's IMO.
> Chai-on: Mr A sold his product at $10 in the morning and yet sold the
>same product at $12 at noon even with no change in the production
>conditions. In value form analysis, it is seen as an increase of the
>value-mag. But, in mine, it is an increase of the deviation between price
>and value.
>2. To my question about the intersection between Pr and Ex, Mike replied "I
>think I introduced it into the discussion, and it is a bit vague (meamaxima
>culpa). Day and night do not (even discounting the fuzziness of dawn and
>dusk) 'intersect'. They touch. However, I do not need this bit of vague
>terminology, being happy with the precise notion that Value is constituted
>in the contradictory unity of production and exchange that is Commodity
>circulation. How's that?",
>and Riccardo aided his side saying "Much clearer. Thanks".
> Chai-on: Why not commodity production instead of commodity exchange? For
>two reasons, I prefer the commodity production. First, irreproducible goods
>(lands, works of art, curios, etc.) also belong to the commodity
>circulation but they do not to the commodity production. Second, there is a
>big difference between potential value and possible (or ideal) value. A
>Grape tree of 2 years age cannot bear any grape fruit and yet it is
>nevertheless seen as having potential grapes. This is the exact meaning of
>the potentiality. In the potential value, its realization as a value
>depends on the inner nature of the value itself. But, in the possible
>value, the realization rests on the external circumstance of exchange. The
>word, the commodity itself is also constituted already in the unity of pro.
>and ex.
>3. Riccardo quotes Michel de Vroey, p. 177:
>>"In this interpretation, the concept of value points to an *articulation*
>>of production and circulation. Exchange creates value but production
>>the magnitude of value."
>>In the footnote: "Furthermore, the existence of value is an instantaneous
>>confined to the moment of exchange"
> Chai-on: If then, do you think that the social substance to which we
>attribute the commodity value s is simply an instantaneous reality?
>4. Riccardo said, "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".
> Chai-on: The problem you felt is a very good thread for moving
>forward. Think more about abstract labor itself, which the trick Colletti
>et al exploited for the rejection of Marx.
>5. Riccardo raised excellent questions, "But how since
>>there is Mike W's problem (a good problem!) that direct labours before
>>actual exchange are not homogeneous?" "I think the problem must be first
>tackled discussing what nature has the labour which is the substance of
> Chai-on: Because of that question, I spent one year to write on it as a
>part of my PhD thesis. I rested on Marx's explanation of abstract labor in
>his Grundrisse (pp. 104-105, Penguin editions). I wrote my own in my thesis
>over 30 pages, which is summarized over 5 pages in my CJE paper (1993, pp
>6. Riccardo comments my statement of the following:
>>>Dear Fred Mosely,
>>>Your discussion in the latest post on production and realization was
>>>somewhat aberrant from the line. The issue at the moment is not about the
>>>realization but the determination. Some listmembers argue the magnitude of
>>>value is determined even after the production. The realization issue is not
>>>questioning the determination of value in the production sphere.
>>No, the point is if the magbitude of value is determined before production.
>>I guessed that for Marx the answer was: yes.
>>I also guessed that for Marx the answer was: no.
> Chai-on: My answer, too is both yes and no. Yes, because the value must
>act as a guide light for the behavior of commodity producers. No, because
>value changes eg. revolution in value, moral depreciation, etc. are
>originated from the production condition.
>7. Riccardo continues,
>>Hence the questions: is this an accurate picture of Marx's position? if
>>yes, is there here a logical flaw? if yes, is there some solution
>>compatible with Marx to get out from what I see as a difficulty?
>Chai-on: there is no logical flaw. What flaw do you find out?
>With Regards,