(OPE-L) the specific social relations [of production] associated with value

From: Gerald A. Levy (Gerald_A_Levy@MSN.COM)
Date: Thu Jun 03 2004 - 07:13:22 EDT

Hi Howard.

> It is the contribution of Bhaskar, and his reading of Marx, to make clear
> that some such understanding could be applied to social relations, ie that
> social relations can be thought of as causally potent, but non-empirical.
> In other words, I can see the material poles that make up a social
> relation,
> say Joe (a husband) and Meg (a wife) and I can see it's effects, but the
> "relation" is something that is non-empirical.  Marx said that society is
> just an ensemble of social relations.  That means, I take it, that much
> more
> than class is involved.  Marriage qualifies.  Ultimately social relations
> are effective, if they are, as a result of the actions of individuals.
> But
> when we refer to "separate" producers establishing the relation of value,
> really we refer to any constellation of entity that acts autonomously in
> bringing a product to market -- a corporation, a petty producer,  a slave
> owner, a collective farm, etc.

Yes, there is a social relation between Joe and Meg.  It does not
constitute social relations _of production_, though.  One should not divorce
(no pun intended)  the concept of value from the _specific_ social relations
of production  associated with capitalism.  These specific social relations
of production are associated with a specific _class_ relation in which
value and surplus value can arise.

Simply because in Ancient Greece products were produced for exchange,
were exchanged,  and had a utility does not mean that they had (in Marx's
sense of the term) value.  Undoubtedly, those products had value in some
_other_ sense of the term,  but value in the Marxian tradition refers most
fundamentally to a specific social/class relationship.

In solidarity, Jerry

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