[OPE-L:1956] value-form theories

C. J. Arthur (cjarthur@pavilion.co.uk)
Sun, 19 Dec 1999 18:43:32 +0000

>A short comment on Andy's [OPE-L:1938]:
>> Value must express itself in its own opposite, viz., use value.
>The opposite of value is not use value.
>The opposite of use value is exchange value.
>Nonetheless, the negation of use value prior to sale requires that value
>also is negated since if a product doesn't have use value, it can't have
>exchange value, and therefore can't have value and therefore can't be a
>In solidarity, Jerry

A very interesting point: but I agree with Andy, not Jerry. The crucial
passage is C1 pp.152-3 where Marx says it was wrong to counterpose
use/exchange v., it should have been use-value v. value. Initially it
seemed Marx was going to leave aside use value but even before treating
constant and varable K (where uv obvously comes back in as a determinant of
a specific economic relation) we find in the forms of value, or exchange
value, that the "internal opposition between use-value and value" has to be
expressed "externally" in the value expression , by each commodity
appearing differently. Thus consider: 'The value of CX is CY'. Here CX is
present immediately as a use value but manages to extrude its value as CY.
Therewith CY is posited as the value equivalent of CX and appears
immediately as value-for-itself, but nota bene only insofar as this v is
posited incarnated in the *UV* CY. (Note the value expression is *not*:
'The value of CX = the value of CY' but 'the value of CX *is* (the UV) CY'.
The former is reflexive; the latter is not, as Marx points out.) Exchange
value is the form in which the abstract opposition of UV and V is brought
into a dialectical interchnge of these determinations.
It is also of interest that Marx's separation of V from EV ocurred very
late. There is no trace of it in 1859. As Rubin argued it was Marx's
encounter with Bailey's Ricardo critique that forced him to abandon the
simple opposition of UV and EV because the latter is purely relative as
Bailey argued. But as late as 1867 Marx is still using the terms
inconsistently in the 1st edition of C (as can be seen in the Appendix) and
even has a footnote in ch. 1 saying V is just short for EV. (This is missed
out, like many other footnotes, in the only English translation.) For the
second edition this is missed out. And to make the matter very clear he
inserts the above-mentioned passage. Curiously this 1st edition footnote is
attached to a sentence also missed out in the second which makes reference
to "absolute value" (again 'absolute' is not in the English translation).
Am I right in thinking the term "absolute value" does not appear in the
second edition anywhere?

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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