[OPE-L:1681] Re: value-form theories and the Uno-school?

Subject: [OPE-L:1681] Re: value-form theories and the Uno-school?
From: Gerald Levy (glevy@pratt.edu)
Date: Mon Nov 15 1999 - 16:37:54 EST

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Mon, 15 Nov 1999 18:34:40 -0000
From: Dr Michael J Williams <mike.williams@dmu.ac.uk>

I am gratified that the value-form work to which I have made a modest
contribution (at the "Western" end) is being discussed. I would love to dive
in with a whole series of comments and clarifications, but I just do not
have the space right now. For now, I am impressed with Jerry's insight into
at least the Williams perspective on the Reuten /Williams approach.

Maybe I'll have time to contribute more substantially in the new year (new

Dr Michael Williams
Principal Lecturer in Economics and Social Sciences
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
De Montfort University
Milton Keynes
+1908 834876
[home: +1703 768641]
----- Original Message -----
From: Gerald Levy <glevy@pratt.edu>
To: <ope-l@galaxy.csuchico.edu>
Sent: Monday, November 15, 1999 12:13 PM
Subject: [OPE-L:1677] Re: value-form theories and the Uno-school?

> Re [OPE-L:1672]:
> Hi Nicky.
> I asked you this question, in large part, because I don't think there has
> been a lot of discussion between value-form theorists and the Uno-school.
> Indeed, both schools might claim, with a lot of justification, that their
> perspectives have not been systematically evaluated and critiqued by other
> Marxists. Thus, I thought that a cross-discussion between the 2 might be
> both beneficial and revealing.
> I think that the difference in interpretation between value-form theory
> and the Uno-school *begins*, in terms of the order of presentation of
> Marx's _Capital_ with the very _first sentence of Volume 1, Chapter 1_.
> I.e. Geert/Mike W/Chris/Tony (correct me if I'm wrong, guys) believe that
> the subject matter of _Capital_ from the very beginning is *capitalism*.
> In this interpretation they are not alone (e.g. Fred would agree with
> them on that point). On the other hand, the Uno-school has viewed Ch. 1
> differently. This can be seen in the following short extract from one of
> Makoto's books:
> "Although Marx titles the first volume of _Capital_ "The
> Process of Production of Capital", he does not immediately
> investigate the substantial content of a capitalist mode of
> production. In the first two Parts of the volume, beginning
> with the analysis of the commodity as the elementary form, he
> elucidates the systematic relations between commodities, money
> and capital as the development of the forms of value. Both
> historically and spatially these forms appear as basic
> components of commodity production in general in much wider
> periods and the places than capitalist production ....
> Then, subsequently at the beginning of the third Part of the
> volume, where the investigation of the inner mechanism of
> capitalist production begins, ...." (_The Basic Theory of
> Capitalism: The Forms and Substance of the Capitalist
> Economy_, p. 73)
> Another difference in interpretation concerns, as you suggest, the
> relationship between money and value. I think this is an important
> difference for both theories.
> It is true, as you say, that both theories have been accused of
> "neglecting the quantitative issues in Marx's value theory". I don't know
> if "neglecting" is the most appropriate word to use in either case. To
> begin with, I don't think that the Uno-school has ever denied the
> importance of a rigorous explanation of the quantitative side of value. In
> the case of some value-form theorists (e.g. Geert/Mike W), their theory
> concerning the relationship of money and value suggests that the issues
> involved in debates over quantitative determination are misplaced. I'm not
> clear myself whether this perspective is shared by other value-form
> theorists like Tony and Chris.
> In solidarity, Jerry
> > To elaborate slightly, the question posed by 'value-form' thoerists is
> > really one about the ontology of abstract labour, as different people
> > understand it. Once again generalising, value-form theorists take their
> > point of departure from the first chapter of 'Capital', where Marx
> > describes value as the 'social substance' of commensurate, privately
> > produced commodities. Also value arises only as the result of a
> > historically contingent process of abstracting from different types of
> > labour through commodity exchange. As the characteristic form that
> > labour takes in capitalist society, value has a 'ghostly objectivity':
> > is a reflection of an undifferentiated expenditure of labour power from
> > which all 'sensuous qualities are extinguished'. <snip>

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