[OPE-L:1707] Re: value-form theories and the Uno-school?

Subject: [OPE-L:1707] Re: value-form theories and the Uno-school?
From: C. J. Arthur (cjarthur@pavilion.co.uk)
Date: Sun Nov 21 1999 - 12:50:16 EST

Jerry writes:
>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.
Nicky, glad you have taken up value-form theory and so ably articulate it.
I intend to write several mails; but this one is on jerry's question above.
I am a self-proclaimed VF theorist, and yet I find the Uno-school
literature very instructive. It seems there must be some connection. What
impresses me in Uno's *Princples*?
1) the suggestion we must begin with an exposition of 'pure capitalism'.
INsofar as VF theory also begins with 'pure forms' there is some congruence.
2) More specifically Uno begins with a "Doctrine of Circulation' , in other
words with the value form: he says (p.3) "The primary concept in political
economy is neither a product nor production; it is the form of the
3) Even more specifically this doctrine of circulation goes through to the
general formula of capital before raising the labour theory of value.
Although not all VF theorists would agree it seems to me this is exactly
4) Sekine in his recent *Dialectic of Capital* identifies the conquest by
value of use value as the theme. Again my own research project could be
described as the diagnosis of the success or otherwise of this.
5) I am not certain if Uno was influnced by hegel; Sekine certainly is; and
so is much VF theory.
6) Makoto has already stressed the main reason why our Japanese comrades
part company with us, and that is on the question of abstract labour. The
ahistroical characterisation of (abstract) labour he gives I would prefer
to call 'concrete labour in general' reserving the term 'abstract labour'
for the determination this acquires in capitalism.
I take it that a defining characteristic of value form theory is the claim
that the labour process is form-determined and therewith the category of
abstract labour is located specifically within capital.
(I will return to abstract labour in reply to Paul C and to Fred.)
7) The question about the status of Parts 1 & 2 of *Capital* I read
somewhat differently from Makoto/Jerry. I think in Uno these are about what
happens before the VF "sinks into production" as he puts it. Accordingly,
if we read "before" historically (not logically) as Uno usually does (this
is a main difference in that VF theory is purely "systematic" rather than
historical), then it sems to refer to the development of 'forms' up to
merchant capital and has no reference to the modes of production the
merchants connect.

In sum I would say that the Uno-school has a value-form orientation but
that it is incomplete/inconsistent.


Chris A

P. S. Please note that I have a new Email address,
but the old one will also run until next summer. (To be doubly sure load both!)

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