Re: [OPE] Reply to critics

Date: Sat Oct 02 2010 - 10:20:03 EDT

> For the benefit of Jerry: we can validly say that a product has a value in
> society, quite independently of whether it is exchanged or not, but in order
> to know the magnitude of this value, we necessarily have to refer to the
> proportions in which it is normally exchanged.
Hi Jurriaan:
Well, I'm not exactly sure why you think this is for my benefit, so I'll
have to guess.
To begin with, the question is not whether a product has a value independently
of whether it is exchanged. If what you mean is that a product can have *worth*
independently of whether it is exchanged then we agree. But, what you (like
Mr. Wagner) seem to forget is that for Marx "neither 'value' or 'exchange-value'
are subjects, but *the commodity*" ("Marginal Notes on Wagner").
Marx begins his presentation with the commodity not because:
> 1. He wanted to make the discussion about "the commodity", such as engaged
> in habitually by political economists, much more entertaining and
> interesting.
Rather, he begins with the commodity because it is the real 'concrete' form
in which the wealth under capitalism presents itself generally appears (paraphrase
of first sentence of Volume One of _Capital_). This concrete (the commodity) is
the "point of departure in reality and hence also the point of departure for
observation [Anschauung] and conception" and "the concrete is concrete because
it is the concentration of many determinations" (Grundrisse, Penguin ed., p. 101).
If we begin by looking at the subject (the commodity) we can see why that
subject must have a use-value and an exchange value which is a "necessary mode of
expression or form of appearance of value" ("Marginal Notes on Wagner").
To say that "a product (sic) has value ... quite independently of whether it is
exchanged or not" is to forget the necessary link between value and its form
of appearance (both of which are characteristics of the concrete subject).
If there is no exchange-value for a commodity then the commodity can not have
use-value either and it can not therefore have value (or even become an actual
commodity). To speak of how value exists independently of whether there is
exchange forgets this necessary relationship which is a characteristic of
the real, concrete subject.
In solidarity, Jerry
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Received on Sat Oct 2 10:22:17 2010

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