[OPE-L:1901] value-form theories

Subject: [OPE-L:1901] value-form theories
From: C. J. Arthur (cjarthur@pavilion.co.uk)
Date: Sun Dec 12 1999 - 09:29:53 EST

Replying to queries put by Fred [1830]

>> But if value is a substance then we cannot have labour as the substance
>> *of* value. You cannot have a substance of a substance.
>I argue that, according to Marx, value has THREE ASPECTS:
> the SUBSTANCE of value is abstract labor
> the MAGNITUDE of value is socially necessary labor time
> and the FORM OF APPEARANCE of value is money or prices
>Value is not any one of these aspects, but all three together. Marx used
>precisely these terms in his tiles to Sections 1 and 3 of Chapter 1 and in
>the texts of these sections (and throughout the rest of Capital).

1. But you have not evaded the problem - your statement 'the form of
appearance of value is money/price' implies that value is a substance, so
one still has a substanceof a substance (or an essence of an essence). I
have noticed this 'double retreat' in Marx ( from EV to the V sustaining
it; and the again from V to its substance L) for a long time. My
explanation of this is that the essence appearance dialectic of Hegel's
Logic accounts for the first and then the relation of the pure forms of the
logic (VF) to Nature (material production) is able to account for the
second. The problem is to find an appropriate language to mark the two
kinds of relation, the former more internal to the concept of value and the
latter its "external" reference.

>But then you go on to say that "the value substance is money."
>I don't understand that at all. It seems to be clearly contrary to Marx.
>Would you please explain? If this somehow follows from Hegel's logic,
>then I would say that this part of Hegel's logic does not apply to Marx's
2. In an earlier post today I corrected myself to say 'value as substance
is money'. This is my formula not Marx's.
Where Marx is concerned he often say 'money is the independent existence of
value', Now if he had Aristotle in mind this would make money a kind of
value substance for Aristotle defines substance as what exists on its own
account and what therefore bear attributes which do not. I take Marx
implicitly asserts that value is merely an attribute of commodities but is
excluded from them to form their substance.

>Then (skipping over a couple of paragraphs for now) Chris concludes:
>> Quantitatively this gives the same formula as Fred's but now it is
>> understood as a formula which the value form so to speak imposes on the
>> richness of the concrete.
>Would you please explain more precisely what this means - "the value form
>... imposes on the richness of the concrete" - in terms of determination,
>or in terms of cause and effect? If we agree on the same equation (P = mL),
>in which direction does the causation run? Does abstract labor determine
>prices, or vice versa?
3. There isn't just one question about causation. Accepting this
determinacy you assert, what is its *ground*? (E.g. *why* does w=mg? Newton
had no answer and was rightly acused of believing in action at a distance.
The field theory got rid of that problem. But then what is this field?
Einstain says it is a curvature in space. But why shuld mass curve space?)
In our case then *why* P=mL? Is it just a brute fact? Or have we a theory
as to what constutites these variables and brings them into this relation?
In my view this equation does not obtain unless and until commodities are
produced by capital, because then in order to produce itself capital
measures the result of its action in this way. Moreover it is the value
form that determines how and what to count where labour is concerned, if we
are talking of *abstract* labour and *socially necessary* labour. And how
is it counted? I see no reason at all why labour should be counted in hours
rather than ergs other than the fact that for capital time is money.
So I agree with the equation (and immediately it runs from right to left)
but value form theory should attempt to ground this in some deeper
perspective that would show how the equation is posited within it.
(I have published nothing on this, but it is part of my research program.)

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!)

This archive was generated by hypermail 2a24 : Sun Dec 12 1999 - 15:45:04 EST