Re: Money, mind and the ontological status of value

From: Paul Zarembka (zarembka@BUFFALO.EDU)
Date: Mon Jun 21 2004 - 15:13:25 EDT

Howard Engelskirchen <howarde@TWCNY.RR.COM> said, on 06/21/04:

>Thanks for your post of 6/17.  In order to minimize further
>misunderstanding, before replying, let me see if I understand your post:

  Howard, fair enough.

>1.         You are wondering whether I've understood you at all from the
>beginning.  You argue that when Marx said that exchange value is a form of
>manifestation of value, this left open the possibility that exchange value
>could be a form of manifestation of other social relations or forms of
>production or exchange - "Marx did not say "ALL  . . . "

  More simply: Marx never said (to the best of my knowledge) that everywhere there is exchange value, then there is 'value'.

>2.         So, this is the point of Marx's analysis that I should have
>understood had been opened:  the question in dispute is whether exchange
>value or value are categories that apply outside the capitalist mode of
>production.   But in resolving this question it cannot be assumed that
>exchange value is a form of value exclusively; it might be a form that
>characterizes other forms of economic life in other historical periods.

  Rewrite to "in resolving this question it cannot be assumed that exchange value is necessarily a form of 'value'; it".

>Can I understand this as applying to the categories 'money' and
>'commodities ' as well?  That is, are money and commodities like exchange
>value - they could appear in earlier modes of production but that would
>not necessarily mean that they were social forms characterized by value.
>Is that the argument?

  Can we stay with "exchange value" (I hadn't gotten into the exact expressions "money" and "commodities")?

>3.         You feel that in responding to this thread I have more or less
>mindlessly relied on the authority of Marx by saying that Marx established
>the proposition that exchange value is a form of manifestation of value.
>Also I argued that I am correct about the real world existence of value
>outside the capitalist mode of production because Marx said so and the
>reason I know Marx said so is because I cite myself as authority.
>Furthermore, reliance on authority of this sort (both Marx and me) to
>settle differences is, in your view, unworthy of the quality of discussion
>that should be taking place on the OPEL list.  As far as you are concerned
>my contribution is not up to snuff.

  I am objecting to anyone, by way of *explanation*, claiming that Marx said so, or Marxist science says so.  The issue must be to *explain* why/how 'value' is applicable outside the context of the capitalist mode of production.  It's not a question of claiming authority, but a question of elaborating the underlying issues/conceptions.

  Yes, it is atypical on this list to make a statement as *justification* for a position such as Marx said so, or that one is working "within the framework of a coherent theory in science" (marxist theory).

>4.         In fact, for you this sort of reliance on authority resurrects
>memories of the Stalinist 30s when people were silenced for not toeing an
>orthodox line.   Were you to acquiesce in such a claim of authority you
>would have to apologize for not holding views identical to mine.

  Yes, but rewrite the last part to "apologize for not holding views identical to the stated truth".

>5.         Finally, you argue that when I say "the concepts of 'value' or
>the 'social relation of value' or the 'social substance of value' are
>theoretical objects, and then go on to say that "the social relation of
>value is a real object; the social substance of value is a real object," I
>am in effect trying to have my cake and eat it too because I use value as
>both a real and a theoretical object.

  Yes.  If you collapse 'value' as a theoretical object into a real object, you are presuming your conclusion.

>Have I understood your post?  Have I got it all?  Please correct or modify
>as necessary.

  I hope this helps.

  Paul Z.

Vol.21-Neoliberalism in Crisis, Accumulation, and Rosa Luxemburg's Legacy
RESEARCH IN POLITICAL ECONOMY, Zarembka/Soederberg, eds, Elsevier Science

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