Subject: [OPE-L:1731] Re: Re: value-form theories
From: Fred B. Moseley (email@example.com)
Date: Tue Nov 23 1999 - 20:21:20 EST
This is a brief comment on one of Andy B.'s recent posts, which I have
enjoyed very much.
> (3) Do you think that the notion of substance, as in Elson, is
> incompatible with Hegel's doctrine of Essence? Reuten and Williams
> do seem to use Hegel's doctrine of Essence to argue that Marx's
> references to the 'substance' of value are a Ricardian hangover which
> should be eliminated. If R&W are correct, then, I should like to ask,
> further, just what is wrong with the notion of substance.
I also would like to know more about just what is wrong with the notion of
substance, and in particular the notion of abstract labor as the substance
of value. As I mentioned in a recent post (and argued more fully in the
paper I mentioned on my website), it seems to me that R&W's main criticism
of Marx's concept of abstract labor as the substance of value is the old
"reduction problem", which I don't think is much of a problem.
> Marx's talk of
> a 'ghostly objectivity' seems exactly right to me - R&W do not seem
> to me to really grasp it - but maybe I do not really grasp their
It also seems to me that Marx's talk of "ghostly objectivity" is exactly
right. What I understand by "ghostly objectivity" is that abstract labor
as the substance of value is assumed to exist (i.e. is an "objectivity"),
but it is not directly observable as such (i.e. is "ghostly"). It becomes
observable only as money - the necessary form of appearance of abstract
labor as the substance of value. But the substance of value nonetheless
exists objectively, independently of its form of appearance as money,
Andy (and others), what do you understand by "ghostly objectivity"?
Is it similar to or different from my understanding?
I look forward to further discussion.
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