Re : Dear Ian: In  you claimed that viewing value and [the redistribution of] surplus value as "stuff" is misleading. I agree with you. Even though value and surplus value are represented through commodities -- "stuff" (broadly interpreted to also include services) -- "stuff" are not themselves value and surplus value. That is because value and surplus value express, most fundamentally, *specific social relations*. This, in a nutshell, is why I disagree with your "most abstract definition of value"  -- it takes categories (value, surplus value) that express *specific* social relations and applies those category trans-historically such that they can apply wherever and whenever there are products which are produced in order to have exchange value and where there is a surplus (product). This strikes me as suggesting that "stuff" which comes to have a use-value and an exchange-value must have a "substance" called value and surplus-value -- regardless of the presence or absence of a *specific* social relation between the ruling class and the direct producers. Yet, you rightly claimed that a "stuff" conception is misleading ... and clearly a conception that highlights the fact that 'commodities' are produced without specifying the social relations characteristic of that commodity production is a pure "stuff" theory of value. It is the *specific social relations* that distinguish one form of extraction of surplus labor from others. The specific and necessary condition for the surplus product to come to represent surplus value is a *specific* relation between the two major classes in capitalist society. In solidarity, Jerry PS: the above represents a reply to Rakesh's  as well.
This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Thu May 02 2002 - 00:00:10 EDT