Re: [OPE-L] Michael Schauerte

From: Rakesh Bhandari (bhandari@BERKELEY.EDU)
Date: Fri Apr 27 2007 - 12:07:18 EDT

What is Marx getting at in the critique of Fichtean philosophers and
in the emphasis on mediation or detours?

Individuals--real in juridical form but shadowy in content--feel
alienated by society and leave to the value of things and  money the
powers to establish their seemingly contingent social relations. Yet
these fetishes of value and money only have such powers  in their
respective specific  magnitudes as a result of the particular
commodity form of the organization of our necessary (that is non
contingent) social productive interdependence rational regulation of
which would actually allow the real individual to flourish.

The real individual is not an ontological datum but the result of a
historical process.

So we return to the questions of humanism and the Hegelian theory of
history and Marx's understanding of them.


>I too would like to know about the 'detour'. (is this term supposed
>to be in Marx?) I suspect this is an inadequate way of expressing
>the concept of 'mediation'.
>The commodity cannot express its value immediately, ie in its own
>'body', so it expresses value through the mediation of another
>commodity-body it sets up as expressing its essence as value.
>Note however the dialectical reversal: when all commodities have
>chosen a money commodity as the unique bearer of their essence as
>values it becomes posited as value-for-itself independent of any
>particular value expression. So a new commodity now expresses itself
>as a value only by comparing itself with money and saying I share
>that essence.
>It is very important indeed to separate this discussion from
>commodity owners. Uno goes hopelessly astray when he conflates the
>'active' role of the C in relative form with the activity of a
>commodity owner proposing an exchange. He therewith, says Uno,
>'assumes the position of the  relative'. But he does not; he is
>trying to treat his own commodity as means of purchase, ie he
>'assumes the position' of the equivalent, assuring the other owner
>that he is offering the value equivalent.
>But again note the reversal with money. Then the agent can offer his
>C for sale, claiming it is worth that price, knowing that possession
>of the universal equivalent will allow him to get everything he
>My papers on this are
>'Money and the Form of Value' in The Constitution of Capital  (pp.
>35-62) eds  R. Bellofiore and N. Taylor, Palgrave, Basingstoke, 2004
>  and (against Uno) 'Money and exchange' in Capital & Class 90 Autumn
>2006 (7-35)
>Chris A
>17 Bristol Road
>BN2 1AP
>On 26 Apr 2007, at 14:03, Pen-L Fred Moseley wrote:
>>Hi Michael, welcome to OPEL.  Thanks for your posts on Kuruma.  Two
>>comments below.
>>Quoting Michael Schauerte <yk3mk3@MY.EMAIL.NE.JP>:
>>>It is interesting, by the way, that most of the translations of the
>>>part of Sec. 3 in Capital where Marx discusses the detour, cannot
>>>help inserting the commodity owner. Granted, everyone knows that the
>>>commodity owners create this value equation based on their own
>>>desires, but for Kuruma once this equation has been set up we need to
>>>set aside the owners and examine the mechanism of value expression.
>>>For Uno, Marx was wrong to abstract that far. I think that if the
>>>commodity owner is not abstracted from, at the very least, the
>>>impression is created that there is no substance of value preceding
>>>the equation, and that value (really "price") emerges from the act of
>>>exchange itself.
>>1.  It is not clear to me why Kuruma calls Marx's derivation of money
>>in Section 3 of Chapter 1 a "detour".  This is a straightforward
>>logical deduction from the basic labor theory of value already
>>developed in Sections 1 and 2.  In order for each commodity to be
>>exchanged as equivalents with all other commodities, the SNLT contained
>>in each commodity (the "magnitude of value") must be observable in some
>>objective and comparable form.  But quantities of SNLT are not directly
>>observable as such.  Therefore, the SNLT contained in each commodity
>>must be represented indirectly in terms of the quantity of the money
>>commodity that contains the same quantity of SNLT.
>>If what Kuruma means by "detour" is the indirect expression of SNLT as
>>money, then perhaps we have no disagreement.  But "detour" is a
>>misleading term.  The deduction of the necessity of money is in no way
>>a logical "detour".  Once money is derived in Part 1, it becomes the
>>basis for Marx's theory of capital beginning in Part 2 - "the
>>transformation of money into capital".  The transformation of money
>>into capital is not possible unless money has been previously derived.
>>So what does Kuruma mean by "detour"?
>>2.  Commodity owners do not create the value equations in Marx's
>>theory.  Marx's logic in Chapter 1 - and throughout Capital - is based
>>on the *objective* characteristics of capitalism, not the subjective
>>evaluations of commodity owners (as in neoclassical economics).  The
>>main objective property of capitalism that Marx begins with in Chapter
>>1 is that products in capitalism are commodities (goods produced for
>>exchange), and that the general system of commodity exchange is regular
>>and mutually consistent - i.e. the system satisfies the property of
>>transitivity.  From this objective property of transivity, it follows
>>by the laws of mathematical logic that the relations among commodities
>>must be one of equality.
>>Continuing with this objective logic, the quantitative exchange-values
>>of commodities is determined by the objective property of SNLT, not by
>>the subjective evaluations of commodity owners.
>>So Marx does not somehow begin with the subjective evaluations of
>>commodity owners, and then puts these aside in order to derive money,
>>but rather begins with the objective properties of commodities, and
>>from these derives SNLT and money.
>>This message was sent using IMP, the Internet Messaging Program.

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Mon Apr 30 2007 - 00:00:17 EDT