[OPE] peanut butter value-form theory

From: Jurriaan Bendien <adsl675281@telfort.nl>
Date: Wed Apr 01 2009 - 02:12:00 EDT

I do not argue that abstract labour and value are "transhistorical categories", since the economy of labour time and the forms of value change in different epochs. Consequently abstract labour and value take different forms in different kinds of societies. These concepts are much richer in content, than Marxists believe - it's just that Marx never wrote a treatise on wages and the labour market.

What you can say is that in any human community people have attached value to products, on the basis that it takes a certain amount of social labour to make them and replace them, and that in any human community people have been forced to think about their allocation of labour-time on pain of survival. "Economizing" necessarily involves attaching value to products and assets and organising labour-time.

Thus, with Marx, and contrary to value-form theory, I argue that value has its origin in social labour, rather than in market exchange, as value-form theorists argue. Consequently, I distinguish sharply between value, exchange-value, and price, as Marx does. But there is no denying that the expansion of market economy powerfully transforms and extends both "the economy of labour-time" and "the economy of trade". However this is a process that first started to happen on a large scale in the 13th century AD and it is not something that only started in Britain from 1750.

The reason why value-form theorists reject Marx's theory, is that Marx's LTV is supposedly incoherent and has no empirical application. But this rejection is based on particular interpretations of the LTV which most probably had very little to do with Marx's own idea. It relies on definitions of concepts which Marx most proably would not accept.

For Marx, capitalist development was an outcome of the clash between the economy of labour-time and the forces of capitalist competition, and capitalist development was "regulated" by the specific ways in which this clash was mediated and resolved. This is a very different way of thinking from static equilibrium models.


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Received on Wed Apr 1 02:14:29 2009

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