Date: Thu Apr 13 2006 - 13:30:04 EDT
Mr. Weaver has quite a bit to say, including a bit about the "culture of needs." Did he get the story right? In solidarity, Jerry =============================================================== MY NAME IS WEAVER Mr. Weaver and Mr. Tailor on the Market Told by Mr. Weaver on the Basis of Karl Marx’s “Capital” Vol. I, Chapter 1,3 Narration collected and edited by Raymond Swing ¾¾¾¾¾¾¾¾¾¾¾¾¾¾¾¾¾¾¾¾¾¾¾¾¾¾¾¾¾¾¾¾¾¾¾¾¾¾¾¾ Editors comment. There are more reasons for bringing this excursus here. First my old friend Mr. Weaver offered me to tell the chronicle of his life as a weaver and merchant in old times. Surely, he was a very old man as he began telling and therefore also a little talkative, perhaps a little too much. But I decided in the most points to respect his way of expressing himself. He told a story much similar to that of Karl Marx’s commodity analysis from the first chapter of his Capital Vol. I – in fact, he somehow identified himself to one of the persons in this famous and, at the same time, ignored passage. This, I thought, could be of some interest, also as a preparation for the next chapter XII of this book, which among other things shall reflect over Marx’s capital theory as such. On the other hand, he did this in a rather picturesque way, which very well in some points also could be understood as an implicit critique of Marx’s own account. Secondly it could perhaps give my sorely tried readers a much needed pause to relax after so many pages formalistic arguments. This Marxian passage is certainly a strange one. Many people – economical specialists as well as philosophers – do not see its deeper sense at all. Marx here attempted to describe the ‘inner’ structure of the market relations; presumably he wanted, on the one hand, to define the concept of value (in the form of exchange value); on the other hand, I think, he wanted to determine the nature of money (as a specific form of a commodity). However, sometimes it is unclear whether this analysis was assumed to be a strictly formal one or Marx, at the same time, proposed to describe the historical development of this market function. To the first point we must say that he did not definitely succeed; he never finished his formal analysis of money in the form of ‘real’ money, that is, money in its coined form, merely as amorphous gold or silver as the ‘general equivalent commodity’. Therefore, the problem whether money is a commodity or a sign – or something third? – never became an essential question; Marx was satisfied on the basis of his ‘materialistic’ ideology to define money as a special kind of commodity. Nevertheless, Mr. Weaver in his narration, perhaps unknowingly, in fact ‘finishes’ the Marxian analysis by implicating the coined money as a special ‘value form V’, not defined by Marx himself. To the second point of uncertainty, indeed, we must state that markets could also exist without any claimed ‘general equivalent commodity’ (as, for instance, in ancient Greece). However, Mr. Weaver in his narration in an interesting way enlightens essential points about the nature of structural relationships – indeed of specific historical-economical as well as of quite general interest – this therefore being a main reason for bringing this admittedly somehow unusual form of philosophical narration – also if especially concerned with the strictly Marxian way of expression. Therefore I thought it worth to bring this life story of Mr. Weaver with only a slightly edition from my hand. It simply ‘subjectively’ pulls the observer himself inside the structure he describes as its I. But we also notice that Mr. Weaver at a certain point of his story had to introduce an observer from the outside, that is, a foreigner exactly representing the third-person stance commenting on Mr. Weaver’s own ‘feelings’ opposite to Mr. Tailor, his Thou. This is really a very interesting point of his narration. So, telling his story shall be emphasised as an attempt to ‘come down’ from the heavenly perspective of the so-called sciences, from the ‘God’s eye perspective’ to a more earth-near perspective where Is and Thous live together commonly creating all ‘higher’ social activities. So this narration attempts to give a personal report of the supposed experiences of my friend Weaver – a historian would rather call it a quite hypothetical one because it covers a time span of at least four or five thousands years! – by going to the market to exchange, respectively, sell og buy goods. Exactly this first-person vantage point is lost in normal ‘objectivistic’ and ‘scientific’ third-person descriptions of events and relations. So much to apologise these ‘unscientific’ notions. – But where Mr. Weaver might have learned his logical symbols must stay an open question. ¾¾¾¾¾¾¾¾¾¾¾¾¾¾¾¾¾¾¾¾¾¾¾¾¾¾¾¾¾¾¾¾¾¾¾¾¾¾¾¾ My name is Weaver. I am old now. My friend Raymond some time ago asked me to tell the chronic of my life. He promised to help drawing it up. Well, I shall try, concentrating on my experiences when going to the marker for selling my linen and buying other goods for use at home. How just to start? Well, once, time was autumn, the weather growing colder, and my coat was old. I needed a new one. I met my good old friend Mr. Tailor. Just as I, Weaver, wove linen and other stuffs, so Mr. Tailor tailored cloths. He had just that day a very fine coat to offer. I would like to have it. The only thing I had to offer him in return for the coat was some linen. Because of making it myself I had plenty of it. And surely Mr. Tailor would need linen for tailoring. The only problem was how much he would afford in return for his coat. I had to ask him. In fact we didn’t need to talk much about these matters. Tailoring coats was no subject for necessary talk at all. It was only a matter of normal activity, of normal making, of using useful tings. It would have had no sense to tell Mr. Tailor about wearing coats and my special needs in this connection. Of course, at home I could talk to my wife about such needs, but that had nothing to do with my actual question about Mr. Tailor’s affordance. In this connection there were not much to talk about and so it neither had sense at all to use the little word “I”! Essential was only this one point: I knew what I wanted, a coat. This was my purpose, my sole reason for the encounter. I didn’t tell about my special needs because using coats in the winter was a mere matter of course. It was enough to look at this single one, touch it, notice its quality, etc., for imagining its use in the cold season. Correspondingly Mr. Tailor touched my linen having his own imaginations. He only had to make me understand how much linen he wanted in return. So, in fact, was our custom in such matters for many years. Sorry, pointing on my linen he clearly wanted 25 yards of it; I would rather have proposed 15 yards. Nevertheless, we had to behave friendly and neither he or I might eventually feel cheated. We had to come to an agreement. What did this mean to us? He proposed 25 yards in return for the coat; I shook my head. Then I proposed 15 yards and he shook his head. If we let W means the feelings of me, Mr. Weaver, and T the feelings of Mr. Tailor and further let ‘…> …’ mean ‘Your demand … is too much in return for my…’, then we could state the situation in the following more formal way: (1a) W(25 yards l) > T(1 c), and (1b) T(1 c) > W(15 yards l) We had to continue bargaining in this way. Eventually, we came to the a proposal of 20 yards linen in return for the coat. Now both of us agreed. That is, now we agreed; neither he nor I felt cheated by this exchange. It needed no verbal expression at all; bodily signalling sufficed. So we found: (2a) W(20 yards l) NOT GREATER THAN T (1 c), and (2b) T(1 c) NOT GREATER THAN W(20 yards l) Strange to say, besides us stood a third person. We did not know him, he surely did not belong to our town at all. I propose he was a stranger curious to observe how foreign people managed their lives. He wondered what had happened between us and mumbled something what I did not quite understand. I myself thought the situation quite clear and so, I think, did Mr. Tailor. We had good understandings of each other. First later, I think, I properly understood what the stranger really had meant. His idea as I understand it today was that just as to me (as in 1a) the 25 yards of linen was too much in regard to the coat so to him the 15 yards of linen was too little. This meant that (1b) T(1 c) > W(15 yards l) could also be expressed W(15 yards l) < T(1 c). This seemed relatively clear. So he also changed the expression of our agreement (2ab) into W(20 yards l) NOT GREATER THAN T(1 c) and W(20 yards l) NOT SMALLER THAN T(1 c). That is, what he tried to tell us was that we mutually assumed that the coat was ‘worth’ my 20 yards of linen and that my 20 yards of linen was ‘worth’ this coat. This, of course, was simply our two statements about our feelings insofar stating our agreement. But we surely didn’t understand was that he thought his statement to be about the two goods as such. First much later I saw what he had meant. I shall try to express this a little more clearly. Mr. Tailor and I had, in fact, made two subjective statements about the same situation on the market; and further, in our view, they were both ‘true’ — and only ‘true’ — together; that is, we felt both satisfied by the agreement (2ab) and insofar also understood the foreigner’s assumptions. In common, and only in common, these expressions could represent this single situation of personal agreement. Nothing else. The essential point to him as a third person was, first, that they together built the following conjunction: (3) W(20 yards l) NOT GREATER THAN T(1 c) Ù W(20 yards l) NOT SMALLER THAN T(1 c); second, that this expression about what both of us immediately felt now was not concerned with ourselves and our own thoughts but rather with our goods as such. This was, at least, what he had tried to tell us. This conjunction consisted of two opposite negations: to me the 20 yards linen were not too much and, at the same time, to Mr. Tailor it was not too little. It was a strange conjunction about two opposite feelings. Or was it – ? It was this strange uncertainty that wondered both of us. But just because of this strange conjunction of ‘feelings’, I, Mr. Weaver, and my adversary, Mr. Tailor, could now — still tacitly — do something with our goods that we had not could before: We could exchange them! I got the coat, he got the linen. A quite new way of encountering each other had here been created. How really explain it? But first the third person, the foreigner, had tried through his curious statement about our feelings to tell us that our goods thereby themselves were made movable relative to each other. And so both of us, in fact, learned to view the situation here as if we ourselves were ‘foreigners’, ‘third persons’ making one single decision that satisfied both and so made the exchange possible – and so there really was nothing more to agree about! In fact, Mr. Tailor and I, I felt, were slowly disappearing from the picture… So in this way slowly I assumed that Mr. Tailor’s coat was ‘worth’ my 20 yards of linen and vice versa. Besides expressing our double satisfaction, that is, besides saying something about this otherwise inexpressible relationship between our needs, I now accepted that this ‘subjective’ double relation (3) also could be understood as a more ‘objective’ expression of the relation between the two goods as such. Symbolising this change by writing the things with capital letters so that L means linen and C means coat we get: (4) 20 yards L NOT GREATER THAN 1 C Ù 20 yards L NOT SMALLER THAN 1 C. But what could this expression really mean? Mr. Tailor and I here – taking a vantage point just like the foreigner at that time – simply compared linen and a coat ‘objectively’ as two “its” in the third person – but in which real sense did I do that? That is, relative to what? I really don’t know! However, this expression seemed quite interesting to me. Without trying to guess the mood and needs of any other people I obviously could now have some expectations about how much linen I had to offer next time I needed a coat, for example, for my wife or children, or some other goods. This, of course, did not mean that bargaining was no longer needed in such situations; but now I could do it without necessarily speculate about the feelings of others. Such empathic feelings could now be abstracted from. From now on we could concentrate only on the goods themselves in their ‘market’ relation and quietly abstract from all other moments in the ‘environment’ of these ‘objective’ relationships. Box 1 Value form I The simple, Isolated, or Accidental Form of Value x commodity A = y commodity B, or x commodity A is worth y commodity B. (20 yards of linen = 1 coat, or: 20 yards of linen are worth 1 coal). (Marx 1990, Capital I, p. 139) What I here had experienced was just what the man Karl Marx many years later called the Simple, Isolated, or Accidental Form of Value, his value form I (cf. box 1). But, really, what Marx thereby talked about was only about a form of market functioning which, in some obvious way, already had been institutionalised. But this was hardly the situation I experienced the first ‘simple’ encounter about the coat. This functional institutionalisation developed only gradually. First many years later, when needing things, we all went to this special place called the market and we all had things in plenty to give in return. However, if we had nothing to give in return we really had nothing to do there at all. How then satisfy our needs? We would then simply have to make all things ourselves and help each other as we always had done – hope someone would give us them as a gift or in the last instance, steel them. But this is something quite different. Surely, we also did so now and then, but I shall not at all tell about such things here. But note that just in the new way of talking about these things themselves – also in their assumed ‘simple, isolated, or accidental’ form – the interpersonal moment of fourthness of the relational structure of this situation (as well as all later market situations too) this fourthness principle was transformed into something quite different that we didn’t quite understand. This ‘objectified’ way of expression represented something absolutely distinguished from ourselves, our subjective feelings and needs, etc., that is, abstracting all real ‘meanings’ of the things outside the market. This was, in fact, the essential problem when in more recent years we began talking about things as ‘use-values’. However, many would surely praise just this special way of thinking and talking about the things as especially ‘scientific’. Box 2 Commodities Commodities come into the world in the form of use-values or material goods, such as iron, linen, corn, etc. This is their plain, homely, natural form. However, they are only commodities because they have a dual nature, because they are at the same time objects of utility and bearers of value. Therefore they only appear as commodities, or have the form of commodities, in so far as they possess a double form, i.e., natural form and value form. (Marx 1990, Capital I, p. 138) The only real material change which had taken place was the two goods changing hands; nothing else had happened. Surely, neither Mr. Tailor nor I were at that time interested in theoretical speculations about market economy; we at that time didn’t know about any such problems at all! We worked and made our mute transactions, that was all; and we had learned without trouble to exchange our surplus products. The subjective meaning of the whole matter was still determined by our behavioural conditions of life quite outside these exchange situations. And nevertheless, the foreigner had told us about our own ‘feelings’ on the market place, which we ourselves only tacitly would ‘have had’! Therefore, in this market situation vis-à-vis Mr. Tailor, the primary problem to me was exclusively to guess how much he personally needed linen. Of course, I was eager to show him its quality; but I had no possibility to compel or force him to accept my offer. In this way we both had our free will. In this way we certainly could call ourselves a ‘Two Component System’ realising a situation of ‘Double Contingency’ generated occasionally for this one encounter. And so we ‘mirrored’ the actions of the other and ‘understood’ them. As we eventually left the market, this ‘system’ again dissolved. Between Mr. Tailor and me – besides an old friendship – there only had existed two estimated goods being, so to say, the medium for our feelings in this encounter. There was no debate in words; both of us knew our needs, the goods of the adversaries, and it sufficed tacitly to refer to them in accordance to our every day knowledge about them and their use. Comparing the goods we primarily, in fact, only compered our needs. Had it already been hard winter at that time I perhaps had been forced to accept more linen in return because my needs then had been more acute. In a quite formal sense we could therefore say that we had stated nothing at all besides this mute relation between personal needs and inclinations. Only the foreigner had here shown us a new perspective. Nevertheless, Mr. Tailor’s had manifested his needs and interests, and through the way he estimated my linen I had learned to accept such needs of others and to estimate their strength. My own needs so far had never been any problem to me. I was forced to assume that Mr. Tailor had needs for linen just in the same way as I had for the coat. Such feelings are strange things! The linen of mine, suddenly, had got a quite new sense to me. I can feel my own needs, I cannot feel the feelings of others. Or can I – ? I empathetically understood him very well. By the behaviour of the other I emphasised that linen altogether had a specific meaning to other people just as it had to Mr. Tailor and whom it therefore also could refer to. It was quite specific things we went to exchange in this early market time. First, we had to have our own goods in plenty. Presumably we made all these things ourselves; but that meant that we made them without personal interest in using them ourselves; nor we made them with any empathic interest in other people using them (therefore the ontologically strange principle of fourthness); we made them only for giving them in return to other goods from someone we possibly didn’t know at all. We only had to estimate whether the goods intended for exchange could be of some interest to other people so that it had sense to make them at all. Surely, had my linen not been able to satisfy a relatively commonly distributed need I would not have been able to use in return for other things; all goods carried to the market had to be of some general rather than personal interest to others, that is, to be usefull things only in the view of the others. In this sense we therefore can say that the goods on the market always had a double function. For me the linen as my ‘tool’ gave me the possibility to get another thing; this was the sense of saying that the linen had ‘value’ for me. So in my own perspective this good had ‘value-form’. At the same time, surely, you could say that it also embodied the trouble I had had by making it; but this trouble was really of no interest for people needing linen at home – only, now they escaped making it themselves. On the other hand, they now had similar troubles, I think, by making their own goods for the market. However, to Mr. Tailor the linen satisfied a certain need; to him – not to me – it had ‘use-value’. To me the coat was only a useful thing – but, nevertheless, after meeting the foreigner by the exchange with Mr. Tailor I in my imagination could also see that this coat had ‘use-value’ to me and so we came to the agreement about the (in this case quantitative) exchange relation now viewed as an ‘objective’ relation. On the one hand, therefore, to me the coat represented, or ‘had’, a use-value, on the other hand, it was just the useful thing I got in return for my ‘valuable’ linen – which now was spent for ever. So we could say that under the condition of our agreement the use-value of the coat expressed, or ‘mirrored’, the value of my linen – just as, in the same sense, Mr. Tailor would have said that my linen by being ‘worth’ his coat ‘mirrored’ the use-value of my linen to him. However, the strange feeling by this wording came from this double essence of being ‘worth’ and having ‘use-value’. My linen was lost for ever, and my new coat simply was a good and useful thing. As long as we stood in the market place I had imagined its ‘use-value’, now at home I appreciated its usefulness. Box 3 The equivalent form By means of the value relation, therefore, the natural form of commodities B becomes the value-form of commodity A, in other words the physical body of commodity B becomes a mirror for the value of commodity A. Commodity A, then, in entering into a relation with commodity B as an object of value [Wertkörper], as a materialization of human labour, makes the use-value B into the material through which its own value is expressed. The value of commodity A, thus expressed in its use-value of commodity B, has the form of relative value. (Marx 1990, Capital I, p.144) This isolated mutual mirroring relation between the two goods as such meant, that Mr. Tailor and I, before the actual exchange, saw our situation in an ‘objective’ way as a somehow ‘frozen’ situation of exchange possibility, that is, in the sense of a somehow confirmed but not yet realized agreement, that is, not yet really decided in action. Exactly in this situation the coat opposite to my linen had achieved its ‘equivalence form’. As Marx noted so many years later (cf. Marx 1990, p. 148-51), I also had noted the three peculiarities of this situation. The use-value of the coat was transformed into the mere mirroring appearances of its opposite, the ‘being worth’ a definite piece of my linen, or, as we now say, of its ‘value’ – this, however, meaning nothing else than its actual and general possibility of being spent in exchange for some foreign good having use-value to me. A second peculiarity was that this practical (‘concrete’) but merely imagined use-value of the coat mirrored the ‘abstract’ work of making something for exchange. In the case of Mr. Tailor I was lucky to find him just needing linen of my quality. Finally, I now had to acknowledge that my own work making linen, this very creation of the fourthness principle to me — at least as a possibility — had some essential meaning to all other people on the market, not only to Mr. Tailor; it was as if I, so to say, now made linen for the whole community – or, at least, simply for ‘mirroring’ their own market goods. In fact, all our thoughts about this market and how it really functioned grew from now on more and more in the direction of such ‘objective’ relationships viewed as ‘frozen’ agreement situations. This was more and more often seen as the ‘real’ point of the actual market situation. Of course, the different goods could always be needed by someone; but only under these market conditions the goods generally had ‘use-value’ to all their interested non-possessors and ‘value’ (explicitly, exchange-value) for their uninterested possessors; never they had both value and use-value to the same person. These moments — structurally being specific properties of the goods on the market — were inseparable in relation to the single good on the market but, at the same time, mutually exclusive to different people. These specific relationships on the market got first their special ‘sense’ by their ‘thawing out’. As long as being ‘frozen’ they neither embodied feelings, needs, interests, troubles, faculties or actions outside the market. With their double determination the goods on the market were the commodities. On the other hand, the whole market structure had certainly ‘meaning’ to the social life outside the market for all people were really involved in this market function. So long being a commodity this ‘meaning’, so to say, was non-local. When these relations had been ‘thawed out’, for example, in the moment I ‘bought’ the coat, this coat and this linen stopped being commodities. Both changed their ‘form’ into useful things on two distinct localities and would (in principle) never be brought to the market again for further exchange. After being sold the ‘meaning’ of the commodities now referred to their usual functions in everyday life where they belonged – as such having neither ‘value’ nor ‘use-value’, and a good without value and use-value is no commodity at all. We could really talk about buying and selling as a ‘commodity collapse’. In this light our commodities could be viewed as absolutely ephemeral entities – just as, as someone later told me that Niklas Luhmann once had said, that such a “social system [was] based on instability”, but this then necessarily counteracted by its ‘autopoietic’ processes (Luhmann 1995, p. 118) This counteraction was a moment of that institutionalisation of the market that I already mentioned (this, however, clearly contradicting its claimed character of first being “simple, isolated, and accidental”!). But all in all, this general function, in fact, drew the structure of the market forward into its value form II. However, after the meaningful actions with coat and linen and, in the course of time, with many other goods in reward for linen my attention concerning the feelings of others relative to linen gradually changed; it grow into a rather general attention towards the specific meaning of this good to others. My whole ‘world’ thereby increased from containing the unproblematic relation between me and different things to encompass also the relations of these Thous to my linen. In fact, without the possibility of saying “Thou” understanding the “Thou” as the familiar adversary of “I” it had no sense at all to say this “I”! And this new structure of the world was in the last instance alone based on encounters mediated by some “it”. But also this ‘objective’ “it” was, first, the coat in its special relationship to a single “Thou”, Mr. Tailor. In some way the ‘objectifying’ and ‘generalising’ “it” that the foreign third person had learned us to be the basis of the expressions (3-4) above for both coat and linen surely obscured the difference between these goods. The coat was my correct and true object of the situation, my linen (Raymond once called it my ‘alloject’) embodied the moment of fourthness. Only this gave the whole situation as a market scene its special meaning. But fact was that the market of these days soon developed into a place where many people came with a lot of different goods for exchange. This was just the point; the structural dissolution of the market was counteracted by the steady supply of new goods offered as commodities. Of course, the newly arrived people had to me only personally interest in so far I needed their goods, for example, tea, coffee, corn, iron, etc., things I could not make myself – and especially, insofar their owners were interested in linen. I really hoped so – but could never be sure. Really, my interests in the market grow as time went. Box 4 Value form II The Total or Expanded Form of Value z commodity A = u commodity B or = v commodity C or = w commodity D or = x commodity E or = etc. (20 yards of linen = 1 coat, or = 10 lb. tea, or = 40 lb. coffee, or = 1 quarter of corn, or = 2 ounces of gold, or = ½ ton of iron, or = etc.) (Marx 1990, Capital I, p. 154-5) So, going to the market with my linen I was now confronted with a lot of other commodities. The market itself had expanded. As in the case of the coat, I still had to bargain with my adversaries and, when coming to an agreement, exchange could be realized. My linen could now be exchanged with all other kinds of goods offered there; its exchangeability expanded to the totality of market commodities. On the market you were never alone. First, the whole sense of the market behaviour was that I (first-person to me) meat Mr. Tailor as my thou (second-person to me) in the hope of receiving the object, the coat as my it (third-person to me) on the condition of agreement. The fourth moment alone in this situation, the structural fourthness moment to me, my own linen (truly in this strict ontological sense being no ‘it’ at all!) made the whole situation a market scene. The new was the many Thous between which, and especially their commodities, I now had to ‘navigate’ to select the right objective its to me for buying them on the most favourable conditions relative to my linen. In this complex ‘navigation’ the uniting and sense-giving principle of fourthness, this ‘non-it’, was that which structurally defined, even, so to say, embodied my own ‘navigating’ awareness, my ‘dealer’s qualia’ – this concept, of course, mentioned in the common sense third-person way of talking but really being quite indefinable. Here talking about ‘navigation’ Raymond told me that he already had quoted a lot of passages from Rodney Cotterill so I think this can suffice (cf., for example, Cotterill 1998, pp. 357 and 429). Of course, I could not buy all these many commodities myself with my piece of linen. So again I had to estimate my possibilities visualising the ‘frozen’ market situation in principle expressing the total sum of already made (or possibly to be made) agreements. That is, I visualised for ‘navigating’ my real possibilities but without yet realising any of them. This I meant when talking about the market as a structure in which I ‘navigated’ as the subjective agent equipped with my conscious awareness relative to my fourthness principle – which, however, at that time did not in any way foster further ideas about this market and its way of functioning. It was also difficult really to imagine this ‘frozen’ but very complex situation. My linen had become too many ‘mirror’ pictures! It was foreign to me; and it was difficult to imagine the whole corresponding totality of others, their feelings and needs. I saw the foreign commodities, recognised their possible relations to my own linen, heard the bargaining around me, and tried to infer about the whole social situation. This, in a very abstract way, characterised to me the whole sense of the value form II of the actual fourthness principle, of my linen. But yeah! Some strange thoughts came to me on this extended market – and, I am sure, all others had the same ideas. But, of course, this I don’t know for certain, we never talked about such things. How many needs there are in the world, how many needs to refer to on the market! I not only experienced the whole culture of meaningful needs and interests; the market changed this ‘culture of needs’ into one whole – it itself quite undifferentiated – ‘culture of scarcity’, this ‘culture’ being represented by the totality of things and goods now being merely ’allojects’ relative to me. Long time the only thing of interest to me, Weaver, was the totality of people actually needing linen. This is also why I called myself a weaver. Otherwise it could have sufficed to make linen for myself, my family, my local friends and other people in the neighbourhood as I always had done. We had always helped each other, of course, without because of this necessarily demanding things in return. But suddenly being aware of the whole ‘culture of needs’ negating itself into a ‘culture of scarcity’ I now became aware of my own activity for contradicting this negativity in my own function as a ‘professional’ weaver. To weave my linen in this way was something quite new to me — even when the work as such was exactly as it always had been. I felt myself caught by this expanded market. What I before had felt as the third peculiarity of the market function had now been manifest to me. I was aware of working for a – as I hoped – steadily linen wanting assembly of people in principle being the whole totality of the market visitors. Their commodities offered on the market, on the other hand, represented in this ‘frozen’ form the totality of allojective value equivalents to my linen. Even more; this expanded market likewise represented to me a whole ‘culture of abundance’ in which I only had to decide what to bay – never mind who I especially loved to encounter. I only had to choose, to ‘navigate’, without any further referents but my own limited linen – let alone any ‘inner’ debates between some ‘self’ and the ‘I’; such sophisticated ideas were, at that time, still quite unknown to us. All this changed my weaving from being a local and individual work into a social one, its non-locality of meaning determined by the market itself. This work as such was now the very basis of this fourthness principle to me and took therefore the form of ‘abstract’ labour for the sake of the totality of the others – on the footing of all other forms of work making the same change for their executors. I now saw myself not only as the possible seller, but also – as a precondition for this – as a ‘worker’ like all others. This gave us all a strange feeling – and, I am sure, all experienced it in the same way. Why was it so? What had we done for the market to change in this way? In fact, we had done nothing! Without premeditating it simply expanded through more exchange. It, so to say, only happened behind our backs. I had become a ‘weaver’; Mr. Tailor had become a ‘tailor’. We simply all were now integrated into this bigger, over-individual, that is, ‘social’ structure with divided labour and some kind of an ‘economy’. Surely, a funny thing! Al simply emerged out of our everyday lives without at once being aware of the transformation. We all found it good when we ‘worked’ more than we ever had done before. Only afterwards we slowly realised what had happened to all of us – and someone said too late! Box 5 Value form III (c) The General Form of Value 1 coat ) 10 lb. of tea ) 40 lb. of coffee ) 1 quarter of corn ) = 20 yards of linen 2 ounces of gold ) ½ ton of iron ) x commodity A etc.) (Marx 1990, Capital I, p.157) My linen in the perspective in which I saw it now essentially changed its function and to me became the ‘general equivalent commodity’ for all other commodities in their totality. In the terminology of Marx it thereby had achieved its general form of value, its form III. This meant that not only was linen my means for buying other commodities; it now also – through its availability in principle to all other sellers – ‘mirrored’ all their ‘value’-commodities. So I ‘valued’ all other commodities in yards of my own linen! That is, in a certain way this one commodity embodying the fourthness principle to me now represented something common to al other commodities on our market. That was the strange – and disquieting – matter of fact: my own ‘subjective’ awareness and activity projected itself out on the distributed totality of foreign people and their commodities, thereby creating a whole world to me of ‘allo-objects’. So, in a certain sense I created my own world where exactly linen represented the specific non-locality principle of the market as a whole. But this was – and still is – a personal problem to me: how far am I myself dependent of this market function, on the supply of commodities and so on others steady need for just linen – and how far can I myself decide my actions in this world of ‘my own’? I can’t say. I simply worked and worked. What to do for really securing my and my family’s life, the life of my friends etc., if the situation changed? How then to ’navigate’? It was really to me as if a higher force was at stake here forcing all of us to work without really knowing why. Somebody, already for a long time, talked about some powerful ‘God’ somewhere in the sky. I don’t know… On the other hand, in our daily lives except for this nothing decisive had changed. It was only when thinking about the market that everything was changed. I felt myself split into a double person the one side of me living as always at home being a common man with family and friends, the other side of me thinking as a professional weaver making lot of linen for unknown people. So I myself changed my ‘form’ from being a single common individual into a generalised ‘social’ individual. This also meant to me, that my linen and my personal troubles by making it – this, in the eyes of the others of the market society, in fact, ’valueless’ general equivalent commodity – insofar came into the whole market’s awareness referring to my own awareness, resources and the energy spent by weaving linen. In part it was really valued through the spent time, which, however, were never measured as such at that time; but of course, the available time to work set some limits for the quantity of linen to be changed for other goods. But, on the other hand, all these things were the market function exactly as immaterial as the needs satisfied after acquisition of the goods, all such ‘subjective’ moments belonging to the market’s environment, the ‘life sphere’. Surely, these things gave in every respect the market function its genuine ‘meaning’ but never belonged in any way to the market itself, was not ‘represented’ to us and therefore, at that time, quite unknown. Not only I felt myself split by this market function. Seen from my own point of view my linen was split too. It had always had two opposite functions. If using it in return for all the other goods it had, of course, value to me (value form II). Viewing it as other’s common reference commodity (as their general equivalent, value form III) it had no sense at all to talk about value. Of course, as a weaver it would be meaningless to me to go to the market for getting linen (at least of the same quality as my own). The real curiosity was that the linen thereby as a ‘concretum’ to me materialised a self-referential role through the relational conjunction of being outwardly oriented as a form II commodity and, at the same time, being a backwards oriented one of the form III. Was my linen then a real commodity at all? Practically on the market, Yes; to me ‘logically’ No. But this curious ‘exclusion’ of the personal fourthness moment to me, in fact, affected all other people on the market in exactly the same way. So, all could rather confidently behave as if nothing had happened! However, gradually many new ways of thinking developed on the background of this new value form III market. First, not only (as in value form II) I mirrored the value of my own linen in exemplars all the other commodities on the market; but by way all these opposite commodities mirroring themselves in pieces of my linen made me to think about them in a new way. In the case of possible exchange agreements above I had formulated the shorthand expression (4) 20 yards L NOT GREATER THAN C Ù 20 yards L NOT SMALLER THAN 1 C. From the viewpoint of Mr. Tailor, of course, we could have expressed the mirroring of his coat - and in principle of quantities of all other commodities – in pieces of my linen. In its relation to the coat we correspondingly could now write: (5) 1 C NOT GREATER THAN 20 yards L Ù 1 C NOT SMALLER THAN 20 yards L. But in return for my 20 yards of linen I could, for instance, also have got 10 lb. of tea, or 40 lb. of coffee, etc. (form II). So we analogue to (5) also had: (6) 10 lb. tea NOT GREATER THAN 20 yards L Ù 10 lb. tea NOT SMALLER THAN 20 yards L, 40 lb.coffee NOT GREATER THAN 20 yards L Ù 40 lb.coffee NOT SMALLER THAN 20 yards L etc. In our system-theoretical way of thinking we had assumed all these exchange relations to be valid under the condition of the above mentioned ‘frozen’ market situation. These different possibilities would to me have been equivalent, would have made no difference for my existence as a weaver — but surely in my daily life of using these things. This was the problem of choice. Second. The formal change of my linen into the self-referring general equivalent commodity had further consequences for how to view and, eventually, describe what happened on the market. We now talked about commodities having ‘value’, for example, being ‘worth’ a certain length of linen. However, we had no understanding of what such a ‘value’ or being ‘worth’ really meant except just expressing this exchange possibility. Nevertheless, we now used the term in everyday language – just as old Augustin when talking about time! Also we could have said: When not asked about value, we all knew what it is, but asked about it we didn’t! But also this curious situation came in the course of time to a change. If we infer that insofar two things in all essential aspects can be expressed, or described, in the exactly same way, then these things must be the same, so we also inferred: Two commodities having the same ‘value’ relative to (that is, represented or mirrored by) the same equivalent commodity had to be mutually equi-valent, that is, had the same ‘value’. But: how to ‘find’ that ‘value’? We couldn’t. We couldn’t find it by looking in the inner of any commodity, we couldn’t experience it in any way. “Not an atom of matter enters into the objectivity of commodities as value; is this it is the direct opposite of the coarsely sensuous objectivity of commodities as physical objects” (Capital I, Marx 1990, p. 138) as Marx once wrote. This strange value essence was merely the result of being produced for market exchange under the condition of possible exchange agreements. Only under this (‘subjective’) condition we were allowed to make such ‘objective’ inferences about our commodities having ‘value’ (in the sense of exchange value). When taken out of this hypothetical market situation they were simply useful things — or unable to be sold, in fact, nothing but waste. Let us look at this strange concept of ‘value’ and see how we, at that time, became aware of it. If two commodities having the same ‘value’ relative to a common equivalent commodity were equivalent, that is, really had the same ‘value’, then, in fact, we no longer had to talk about my linen at all when talking about the values of other commodities such as coats, tea, coffee, corn, etc. We only had to assume that the linen – on this ‘frozen’ market – could have been given in exchange for certain quantities of all other commodities; but this would then only have been a hypothetical question on the condition of my own existence as a weaver. On the contrary, I – and all others with me, that is, we – could now really speak about foreign commodities in the ‘objective’ way. We could express ‘objectivity’, first, by generating the following equivalence relation: (7) If 10 lb. tea NOT GREATER THAN 20 yards L Ù 10 lb. tea NOT SMALLER THAN 20 yards L, and if 40 lb. coffee NOT GREATER THAN 20 yards L Ù 40 lb. coffee NOT SMALLER THAN 20 yards L, etc., then not only 10 lb. tea NOT GREATER THAN 40 lb. coffee Ù 10 lb. tea NOT SMALLER THAN 40 lb. coffee, but also: 10 lb. tea º 40 lb. coffee. A German fellow which I meat at that time, if I am right his name was Ruben, curiously called this deduction a ‘Setzung’. I did not quite understand what he meant. But it was clear to me that we now thought – or perhaps better: felt – that there had to be something common to coats, tea, coffee, corn, etc., or something ‘in’ these different things as long as they stayed on the market. This common ‘essence’ could, for example, simply be that they all were produced just like I had produced my linen and so been carried to the market for sale; or simply that each one commodity represented “in its reality the ensemble of the social relations” in which it partakes in our hypothetical ‘frozen’ market situation (as this Marx later expressed it in his 6th Thesis about Feuerbach, this, however, related to a hypothetical human ‘essence’). This new concept of ‘value’ as a specific property or ‘essence’ being intimately associated to the commodities, or contained ‘in’ them – just as the colour red is connected to tomatoes, weights to stones or lengths to sticks, etc. – made it possible to us, further to objectify the way of discussing the assumed agreement relations on the market (of course, in the third person). We already mentioned the initial steps: From implicitly comparing needs, we compared commodities; from comparing commodities we had been aware of this special property of a objectified, so to say, substantialised ‘value’-essence. This development, therefore, shall be mentioned as our third point at issue. Certainly, it should not be the last one in our strange development as market visitors! Still under the strong condition that I could keep my position as a weaver and as such be generally accepted on the market – just as others kept theirs – it was possible, instead of talking about equivalence relations between commodities, now, fourth, also to talk about simple value identities (above indicated by […]) I learned after all to argue in this way: If 10 lb. tea NOT GREATER THAN 40 lb. coffee Ù 10 lb. tea NOT SMALLER THAN 40 lb. coffee, then these commodities not only stand in equivalence relation to each other 10 lb. tea º 40 lb. coffee but that they also in this concrete relation had, or even contained, ‘something’ in common. This essential ‘something’ that we registered in our common awareness was just this concept of quantifiable ‘value’. ‘Value’ – really a curious word! Normally when talking about ‘value’ I always think about something good and nice; here it rather means everything and nothing – merely as an absolutely empty word! Well. Call this strange value V. Instead of comparing the value of my linen in this way (value form II): VL = VT, or VL = VC, or VL = VI, or VL = … for the values of tea, coffee, iron, etc. I could now write the opposite equations (value form III): VT = VL, and VC = VL, and VI = VL, etc. That is, instead of saying VL = VT Ú VC Ú VI Ú … we now had VL = VT Ù VC Ù VI Ù … Therefore, the quantity of the referred to value of some tea is the same as – or identical to – that of a certain quantity of coffee, etc. So – still as a weaver – I propose the following definition of value identity. But corresponding definitions, of course, would be equally possible for tailors, drivers, etc. If (relative to commodity A, in the test case my linen as common reference commodity) the value of a commodity M is NOT GREATER THAN and at the same time NOT SMALLER THAN the value of another commodity N, then the value of N = the value of M. Call this value of commodity M, VM, etc., then we have the implication: (8) A[VM NOT GREATER THAN VN Ù VM NOT SMALLER THAN VN] Þ A[VM = VN] Immoderately I shall call this way of argument a ‘dialectical’ definition of the concept of equality or identity. In a nontrivial way, namely, it is the conjugation of two negations of opposite character – ‘concretely’ – connected in the single concept of ‘value’. Just this is, as my friend and editor says, the core point of the dialectical way of defining their identity. Fifth. Every person on the market saw her or his own commodity as the common reference commodity. However, this was in the long rum unsatisfying. Soon we therefore experienced a new development personally happened to us and again, of course, without being really aware about it from the beginning. The linen materialising the fourthness principle to me and coats to Mr. Tailor, etc. — and in this function materialising essential moments of our awarenesses of the whole market situation – through new light also on my own personal awareness, or ‘consciousness’, about the whole market situation. The problem was, in fact, a double one. On the one hand, it concerned commodities, on the other, it concerned the conscious awareness of all people on the market. Just as a commodity as such cannot, at the same time, and to the same person, have both value and use-value, so it was also assumed that (in form III) my linen to me couldn’t be a real commodity at all. There inevitably stuck a contradiction to this fourthness thing. And quite analogously there stuck some contradiction to ourselves as subjects. As weavers, tailors and so on, that is, as social individuals, we were all excluded from our simple old-fashioned home life as ‘common humans’. At first linen as the non-commodity to me was – just to me – excluded from the real market, coats to Mr. Tailor, coffee and tea to others; but how then really compare the commodities around us? We never discussed this ‘logic’ problem seriously; however, one day we found that it had solved itself! I shall tell you what had happened; but what, at the same time, happened to our awareness was more difficult to explain – in fact, it was really inexpressible! I was clearly aware of my own ‘navigating’ on the market. I, the subject, was seeking my object, an it, just the commodity I needed for my life at home, and so I experienced the relationship to some Thous. This was all contained in the definition of the value form II. Emphasising my linen in the value form III, on the other hand, it was no object. It was a part of me, my property, a value thing – but no ‘it’ (no third-person but rather a piece of my fourthness principle), a moment of my awareness by ‘navigation’. I experienced myself as an ‘I’, an active ‘navigator’; at the same time, relative to others I experienced myself as a ‘me’ – but, however, a ‘me’ cannot act! Correspondingly, to others my linen was an ‘it’, to me, at the same time, it was a ‘non-it’. To others it was ‘material’, to me it was excluded from the material market world – no matter, whether I saw the linen as a ‘thing’ or not. Was it then rather a mere ‘idea’? The same was the case relative to my awareness. As long as it referred to a material need – seeking coats, tea, coffee, or iron, everyone could ’understand’ it. But to myself, relative to my linen, it simply was; as such it was not immediately to ‘understand’ – however, neither a ‘problem’ to think about. That came first much later! It just was the experience of all my actual needs, activities, memories, etc., to me, to my Self. Insofar also this awareness in itself was excluded from the world of my material references. This was the real contradiction when thinking about it, as awareness as such, as ‘consciousness’. Again, this definition surely in a dialectical way constituted a self-referential conjunction between two moments, the subjective (the ‘I’) and the ‘me’ of the simpler communication situation) – these, on the one hand, conditioning each other because of their dependence here on the same general value form (form III) but, on the other hand, also mutually excluding each other while experienced under opposite perspectives; that is, distinguishable, but inseparable. That, I thought, must also be the reason why we cannot experience the consciousness of others; the immediate empathic understanding has already long time ago lost its terrain. Now we only can infer about awareness on the basis of experiencing our own awareness. Seeing others behave as we would have done ourselves, we unavoidably also must assume others to be conscious. If not it would be absolutely impossible to ‘navigate’ at all among them! Box 6 Recognising others In a certain sense, a man is in the same situation as a commodity. As he neither enters into the world in possession of a mirror, nor as a Fichtean philosopher who can say ‘I am I’, a man first sees and recognizes himself in another man. Peter only relates to himself as a man through his relation to another man, Paul, in whom he recognizes his likeness. With this, however, Paul also becomes from head to toe, in his physical form as Paul, the form of appearance of the species man for Peter. (Marx 1990, p. 144, note 19) So, eventually, we must state that consciousness is both material in the sense of referring to outwards needs, activities, etc. and, at the same time, inwardly characterised as a passive and non-material existence form, this, so to say, comprising the double determination as an I and a me, that is, as a Self. In this indivisible conjunction it is just immaterial. Nevertheless, in this analogue form III existence we in no way experienced any form of ‘dialogue’ between these awareness aspects. As a Self, really, — just as my linen in no real sense, only ‘logically’, was excluded from the market – also my consciousness as such was ‘logically’ excluded from the outer world. Materially the formal contradiction of my good was unmarked; no open conflict referred to such a contradiction. So neither the contradiction of my Self was marked; no open conflict was referred to in an inner dialogue. All that had first later to come! The way we until now had gone relative to the commodities was consequently that of ‘objectification’. But in the last step we not only objectified the commodities; without thinking about it we all began to see ourselves in a somehow more objectified way. This development had already started long time ago. The general reference commodity A referred to a general professionalism on which our market society now was based. We not only saw weavers, tailors, carpenters etc. around us, the commodity A now referred, so to say, to the generalised professionalism as such, and so also to a generalised awareness about what happened outside the market. We all tacitly accepted not only to practice as professionals, we simply lived as an integrated part of this general market culture of professionalism. I shall now try to explain what further happened to us all on this basis and primarily what happened on the basis of the identity deduction (8) above. This deduction made it possible for us to choose a certain commodity of common interest – or rather non-interest! – as our preferred general reference commodity for exchange comparison. So, let us repeat and further develop the argument: (9a) A[VL NOT GREATER THAN VM Ù VL NOT SMALLER THAN VM] Þ A[VL = VM], and (9b) A[VN NOT GREATER THAN VM Ù VN NOT SMALLER THAN VM] Þ A[VN = VM]. Box 7 Value form IV (d) The Monetary Form of Value 20 yard of linen ) 1 coat ) 10 lb. of tea ) 40 lb. of coffee ) = 2 ounces of gold 1 quarter of corn ) ½ ton of iron ) x commodity A ) (Marx 1990, Capital I, p. 162) Instead of one of the ‘common’ commodities A let us now choose the commodity M as reference commodity, for example, a precious metal. Then this special commodity would play the traditional role as general equivalent and we have: (10) M[VL NOT GREATER THAN VN Ù VL NOT SMALLER THAN VN] Þ M[VL = VN] We now found ourselves comparing the values of our commodities with this special commodity M, which from now on functioned like that what we later called ‘money’. This commodity M had the ‘value form IV’. For this function of comparison we normally used gold or (perhaps more often) silver. This special commodity took up the position as the linen to me, of coats to Mr. Tailor, of iron to the miners, and so on. But opposite to all these commodities this one was really accepted as general equivalent commodity. However, just as linen to me in principle was excluded form the market in my own view, so gold and silver had now to all of us to been excluded – and even in a far more serious way. Before there were no sensual difference between excluded and non-excluded commodities. Just this was the case now. The precious metal clearly differed from, even contrasted to, all other commodities on the market. No one could after this in any meaningful way ask about the value of gold or silver — and we laughed when someone asked such questions. (But really, we didn’t exactly know why!) But also this happened behind our backs. Nevertheless, the fact was very satisfying and so we all tacitly accepted it. We now had a special good, which never was viewed as a normal commodity at all but which as the new core good of the market could always be used for expressing the values of the normal commodities. (Yet, we heard about other people using commodities such as oxen or grain for expressing values, but that was no business of ours.) It was a great fortune to have this money commodity in plenty — but only few of us succeeded in that. Having money we could without trouble buy all other commodities. All professionals now wanted gold or silver just as I did, and so everything became much easier. However, to get money you needed to work for having something to sell, or to render others with services of some kinds (so working itself in its abstract generality became a profession!). Or you had to go to the moneylenders… It was fine to have money, but not always fine to get money! From now on gold and silver as our core reference commodity also became our core problem. What we needed, and what we necessarily had to do, all was in the last instance determined by this single thing. So gold or silver eventually became our sole and general interest. Through this metal our common, socially defined fourthness principle had assumed a material and shining form of existence. Further, from now on all real needs referred to by the market commodities and their ‘use-values’ had only secondary meanings. The money commodity referred abstractly as such to the whole totality of human needs; and so, on the other hand, it also abstractly referred to the totality of work done no matter its qualitative differences. It was just because of its practical uselessness – but also its beauty – that the precious metals could assume this abstract and general meaning. So its aesthetic qualities – and especially its suitability to satisfy all form of vanity – it always had practical sense to operate with these metals. It always was in a premium. No one really needed these metals in their daily lives, no one really needed it at all. You really needed it only for the market transactions. We now demonstrated in gold (or silver) how much worth our own commodities were, or how much we had to pay for the others’s. We had won a practical concept of general value reference, its metallic material further aliquotly divisible, so that we simply could use its weight for quantitative determinations. But nevertheless, in everyday commerce commenting on values we still in the last instance didn’t know what value really was. Eventually also this problem were solved through the curious last step – and, of course, again behind our backs! The only thing I with certainty, in retrospect, can say about it is that what happened had vast consequences to all of us, again changing our whole life and way of thinking, even of talking, in a radical way. In fact, everything had functioned quite fine until now; so personally we did not need any new change. On the other hand, we were not at all asked. Someone had generated some special stamped tokens out of the gold (or electron, later also of silver) and introduced these things, ‘coins’, as the only really universal form of money. Someone said the stamp used for coining was a sort of guarantee for the quality of the metal. Such a guarantee was surely needed; but at least coining had functions besides this. Who first got the idea about the coinage I don’t know. Certainly, the idea did not came from one of us professionals on our own market; it rather came from far away. But its effect was deep and again a double one. Personally, I suppose the idea came from the king or someone like him, who wanted to demonstrate or claim special relationships to its users. The first essential effect of this coinage was that we now directly could measure the value of our commodities. This was a quite fine thing. Until that day we could compare or exchange our commodities in turn of certain quantities of these metals. Now we needed no longer to weigh them; we only had to count the coins. That was quite smart. So these precious metals developed into specific rules for all future value measurements. The value of my 20 yards of linen or Mr. Tailor’s coats was now simply so and so many coins. Nevertheless, it is not quite correct to say that the coins functioned as our general equivalent commodity. Were such ones commodities at all? This is again the old question. Coins, as all other forms of general equivalents really had no ‘value’ – and, of course, not any use-value either. Let me try to explain: Call the coined money, these icons of the unity of the market relations, M. So with the transformation of M into M we first have to transform the expression (10) above. We thereby get: (11) M[VL NOT GREATER THAN VN Ù VL NOT SMALLER THAN VN] Þ M[VL = VN] The subscription M has here a quite special meaning. On the condition of the general equivalent form of linen above we made the special ‘Setzung’ (7), as the German fellow called it. Coinage in itself makes no principal change in the argument so we can repeat this ‘Setzung’ under the new condition, that is, under the special aspect of M being the actual and common core moment on the market (as general equivalent). Of course, linen, the commodity L, and the commoditxy N (say tea, coffee, corn, iron, etc.) are physically different. L ¹ N. But to say about their values VL = VN is something quite different. In the case of (10) we stated M[VL = VN]; this identity was inferred (‘gesetzt’) relative to our metallic commodity M. But as M changed into M it itself immediately – self-referring – told us what it is. This M made, ‘setzte’, L and N identical modulo M — this ‘Setzung’ being valid only in this sole respect (which, on the other hand, achieved the quite general form of rather royal universality). No one before really knew what this common reference moment was, nor meant; now we all could know it (or, at least, we believed to know it!). The standard unit itself told us: The aspect, under which identity were ‘gesetzt’ with these coins, is value. A meter rule measures things under the aspect of length, weights under the aspect of gravity, etc. And now we all could read out of the coins themselves, that they measured the commodities under this aspect of value. So ‘value’ in our eyes – and represented in just this shining way – had assumed the character of a new dimension of the world to be used by our conscious ‘navigation’ in this special market domain. Even more. By the coins representing or simply presenting ‘value’ their very ‘meaning’ became to refer to the universality of life in this money-using society, that is, to the whole kingdom. These icons, then, pretended to materialise the absolute itself in a world of relativity. Or, expressed in other words, just as linen in its value form III created my own world in which it in a specific way to me represented the non-locality principle of the market as a whole, so we now could say that the coined money – let us call its form the ‘value form V’ – to all of us as embodying the very social fourthness principle represented this market in the form of a general non-locality principle. This was not the only curiosity in connection with the creation of this M. It was stamped in such a way, that the name of the coins just became the name of the standard unit – or parts of this standard unit – of value itself. So we only had to count what directly was to read on the coins. On this basis we might further develop statement (11). The new value ‘dimension’ had found its numerical medium of reference. We now simply say, that linen, coat, and so on was worth so and so much, or so and so many coins of money M, their value then being expressed as nM, where n was the number coins M we had to pay or could get in return for a special commodity. So if, under the aspect of M, really VL = VN is valid, then we under these conditions of comers simply got accustomed of saying (12) M[VL = VN] / nM. Let us look a little more closely at this expression, which from now on determined our whole consciousness and way of thinking. Out of the one money term M there suddenly had grown two terms; the value form V had materialised in the two-fold form, where M represented the generally assumed standard unit of the dimension ‘value’, the (rational) number n the measure itself represented by M. In this numerical determination value itself was prepared for arithmetical calculations. A value statement in a format consisting of only a concrete number determines the price of the commodity in case to the whole society. This determined the fourthness principle of general non-locality as encompassed by this money. In the form of nM, on the one hand, this price had got its metallic, in itself rather senseless form, that is, only having meaning on this market place; on the other hand, by agreement, and now numerically expressed it had been indicated and could now be mediated as such. This really was the very first case where explicitly linguistic communication was shown necessary for our transactions. That is, these demanded our thoughts now to be explicitly expressed in explicitly verbal form, not merely in the way of empathic signings. Could we call this the first specific case of intellectual development? I am sure, foreign observers would have said that we, the people on the market, first now had grown ‘conscious’ at all! In this way money itself developed into a curious thing we never quite succeeded to understand. On the one hand, it was – or had some time ago – really been a metallic commodity, though of a somehow special kind deprived of everyday use; as specific money material it lost its role as commodity and so also lost its ‘value’ – except when we tried to buy on foreign markets or from the mines. On the other hand, the coinage gave these pieces of metal their strange iconic and self-referential form; they themselves even tell us what the are, or better, what they mean. In one sense they really are commodities, insofar they explicitly tell us that they have value and how much. In another sense they are just not commodities but ‘merely’ money, telling us their meaning – in stead of their being –, that is, how much value they represent. In this sense, of course, you could reasonably call them signs in some generalised sense, their material existence thereby being unimportant. Which of these explanations can be the correct one? It is difficult to say. The clever Marx once told us, that money is a special commodity; but at the same time he also told us, that the equivalent form as such opposite to the relative value form had no value itself, its body being only the mirror picture of the value form. In that sense it is the licensed way of expressing value in the form of price – mind you, as long as we really accept this function of the market defining currency! Its function as common currency has always been a matter of ‘subjectivity’, of trust, of willingness to accept. If this is no longer the case it immediately has lost its money function and falls back in its role as a possible commodity like others (possibly of form IV). So I think Marx in some sense is right in both these propositions. But what then? What is money? In retrospect, at least, I can say that this gold and silver was very expensive when brought from the mines; at that moment it was not yet excluded from the special market transactions as money. This happened first afterwards by its actual use as the general money commodity, respectively through its coinage. Secondly, its function as in itself valueless value representation made it possible to cheat, later on even to use paper instead of the expensive gold. It represented value only because of itself – self-referentially – telling that it did! Most often people tacitly accepted this. When they did not, or could not, we got crises and the market broke down. Then, of cause, the precious metal again became the most valuable commodity for its owners. In this sense it differs from other material rules as, for instance, a common meter rule. This is ‘objective’ in a sense not quite valid to money, even if subjective determining equivalencies or identities by measure decisions is analogue to that on the market: When we must assume that the stick A is not-longer and not-shorter than the stick B, then they are of equal length. And the meter rule tells us that the stick is so and so long, that is, on the one hand, ‘long’ just as sticks are, and, on the other hand, that it has the length which its notches and labels tell us. So also the meter rule itself to us is a double ting. It is length and it has that indicated measures as observed from the vantage point of the third person. But value for me came out of the relation to Mr. Tailor; only secondarily the value as a special concept developed as an ‘objective’ moment (‘outside’ me) on the developed market (form III). Nevertheless, also there values always, in the last instance, depends on mutual agreement. So, in short. A meter rule is long, thereby measuring length – but in this function nevertheless excluded from the world of wood and timber (a cabinet-maker would never make a table out of meter rules!). Money is not (or at least needs not to be) valuable. There is a sensual empirical opposition, a material conflict, between being commodities and being coined money. Value was always exclusively defined in the actual context of real market transactions, the special meanings of which lie outside the market itself. In all other contexts it would loose form and function, the market would stop functioning, the goods loos their values, or work again take on its primary function of simply making useful things. However – so Mr. Weaver continued but unmistakably with some uncertainty in his voice – this double existence form of money made us try to give money a dialectical definition (presumably also valid for the money commodity M). The form of coined money M manifests in itself the difference between a commodity being excluded form the market (being recognised as mere commodity material), that is, as a nonuse-value; and, at the same time, being generally accepted as the equivalent commodity, that is, as a nonvalue. As the specific unification of this difference it represents the conjunction of these opposite negative propositions, so that we can define the money M as a ‘concretum’ by writing (13) M =def. Nonvalue Ù Nonuse-value So we could have defined our subject by way of the generative conjunction of these two negations being intimately connected in this definition of M. This would in the terminology of Marx have defined a value-form V, but certainly, he never explicitly defined that value form. However, in this sense we could really say that also the commodity, the commodity as such on the market, has the commodity-form C. Two money-forms, M and C, simply exchange hand on the market. In this sense of non-value you simply express what has been, what is used, all the no-longer being. The non-use-value, or rather the non-utility, is the not-being, all the not-yet utility. So money as well as commodities as such, rather than as real things, could therefore be expressed by (XI.14a) C =def. Non-value Ù Non-use-value and both in the sense of their forms could – in another rather temporal sense of the terms – be defined by (XI.14b) M- and C-form =def. (NOT GREATER THAN AND NOT SMALLER THAN), thereby, in fact, on this basis of identity opening up for a wide spectrum of unforeseeable possibilities. The using of coined money also had consequences for our own conscious awareness. We now ‘navigated’ merely by thinking about numbers. So the outer material opposition between commodities and money was mirrored inside our heads. We now were merely thinking our thoughts just representing the possible market ‘navigations’ and so themselves seen in the same third-person perspective as the commodities and so made comparable, etc. as such. These opposites of our awareness between thought numbers (prices, etc.) and tings (commodities) were quite analogue to the nonvalue and the nonuse-value of the money definition. So we also could begin speculating about: What is consciousness? And: What is its ontological basis? We could only define this ‘Self’ as the contradicting unity of a first-person I and the above mentioned ‘allo-allojective’ me. We soon observed that between these opposites there could exist severe conflicts. These conflicts – now being conscious to all of us! – could eventually be fought out in every day thinking. So we realised our ‘navigation’ in peace, quietly, off-line, showing no one what we wanted, which needs we had, respectively veil our fortune, etc. And so we learned cheating. Really, it was awful! In this sense we soon learned that consciousness was analogue to money. Money is only valid as money in this inherently contradicting unity. And so consciousness too. What were an ’I’’ without this experience, or knowledge, about environmental entities presented or represented to ‘me’ in my awareness? And what were these ‘allojective’ representations worth to ‘me’ without the subjective ‘I’ as the ‘navigating’ agent? To dissolve this intentional unity would be like to the dissolution of the market itself, that is, the reduction of the developed possibilities into such simple forms of preconscious behaviour analogue to the value forms I through III, or IV. However, this did not pose any curious Cartesian questions to us about the cogito and other such strange ideas. Any open and reflected contradiction between the ‘I’ and a ‘me’ was, at that time, absolutely unthinkable. On the contrary. This ‘allo-allojective’ me-representation could only be viewed as the representation of the whole market environment to which ‘I’ as the agent was related by ‘navigation’ against some ‘it’ as my chosen object. So, to us this ‘I-me’ conjunction referred to the ‘organism-environment’ conjunction in real economical life – realising its specific ‘life potential’, as my dear editor once said; that is, it self-referentially defined all single subjects experiencing themselves opposed to, or in conflict with, but, at the same time, also always united with this real world. How conflict? Well, we were, in fact, accustomed to view and analyse the market in its ‘frozen’ state defining its relational structure in the form of some state, as I told you. We thought of our market as structurally defined by its system of prices, money distribution, etc. – and in this thought structure we grew quite clever calculating the best way of transacting. But, really, the market were never in this way absolutely ‘frozen’, it always changed, was in steady fluctuation. So our navigational calculations, thoughts, and plans, were much too often disappointed. The thought of the market in ‘frozen’ state but the real market in steady flux; what we thought of was never exactly experienced — and what was experienced often contradicted what we had anticipated. So we always acted in unavoidable uncertainty. It was not easy to make both ends meet! But without looking ahead for troubles to come let us state another effect of the coins as the valid currency on the market. This was that we at once could compare the market relations on our own market to the relations on many other markets in our kingdom where we, before that time, had not been able to make easy business. This made it also possible to us to get new suppliers and new buyers. That was certainly not our own idea. I think, it was the idea of our ‘king’. Presumably he wanted to connect the different parts of his country, construct it as a greater unity using the coinage for this task. He therefore often coined the money with his own portrait so that we should not doubt that he alone materialised the centre of this greater domain so that we should all do business on his conditions. And so we can speculate about possible political and other meanings of these new money icons that now followed us every day and so changed our lives. - o - This was a long story to tell and I am tired of talking. Surely, my children say I am old-fashioned. They all tell stories about new developments, of quite new ways of living. They talk about great factories and about money that they now call ‘capital’. I really don’t know what to say about it. However, in some sense all of this seems quite familiar to me. So often we experienced what someone called ‘augmentation’, just self-reference and self-confirmation that all so often happened to us on the market. And always things came about without real knowing about it before long time after. We were never asked! So I don’t know what to think about all the new things my sons tell about as, for instance, this fateful ‘capital’, partly as merchants capital, partly, later on, industrial capital with great machines and thousands of workers. I always worked. First to get linen for exchange, then to get money. And the workers say they only get money for doing working without exactly knowing what they really make. Funny! But really, I don’t see that the central matters have changed very much since I was young. But perhaps the sons are right. Money ‘objectively’ always got new still more generalising functions, and when my sons talk about the great factories where they work today, it really seems to me as if the social needs and work in the sense of capitalised labour had assumed new forms of abstractness – and they also talk about ‘trade unions’ and ‘class struggle’ against their new masters and factory-owners, the so-called ‘capitalists’. I can’t say. In my time we had no ‘capitalists’, we had most often our own workshops and made our work there, independently, on our own account. So, you see, I am growing old. Presumably the younger generations have experienced in excess of all I myself have experienced and here told about. Isn’t it so? Is it not just so that way life itself develops? I think so. And so, I think, I rather have to stop my chronic here. Thank you for your attention and your help for editing it. References: Cotterill, Rodney (1998): Enchated Looms. Conscious Networks in Brain and Computers. Cambridge University Press. Luhmann, Niklas (1995): Scial Systems. Transl. by John Bednarz, Jr. with Dirk Baecker. Staford University Press, Stanford, Califormia. Marx, Karl (1990): Capital, Vol. I, tansl. by Ben Fowkes, Penguin Books.
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