Subject: [OPE-L:1906] value-form theories
From: C. J. Arthur (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Sun Dec 12 1999 - 11:06:31 EST
>Reply to Nicky's (OPE-L 1870) on Fred's (1836)
> R&W are not interested in providing a quantitative theory
>of the magnitude of surplus value, because (a) the abstraction they focus
>on is the abstraction from use-value (exchange-value), rather than the
>abstraction from concrete labour (abstract labour), and (b) because, in
>their view, the immanent measure of value (abstract labour) has no measure
>other than the extrinsic measure in relative prices. A corrolary to R&W's
>focus of attention on extrinsic (money) measures is that the question a
>theory of value is supposed to answer also becomes re-focused - away from
>the question of *what* (magnitude) towards the question of *how* (process).
> In R&W the process is seen to be one in which the production of surplus
>value is itself determined by the need to make money profits (labour is
>conceptualised as value-creating, rather than exploited).
>>For further clarification, what does it mean to "ground" the concept of
>>surplus-value, in a way that does not include an explanation of its
>As I see it, the analysis of *production for exchange* rather than the
>analysis of *production and exchange* provides the rational for value form
>theory. In VF theories of capitalism, the labour process and the
>valorisation process are seen as one and the same; labour is value-creating
>(therefore the production of surplus value is a form determined process).
>The theory has to do with the analysis of this form determination of the
>process of surplus-value production, not with the measure of magnitudes.
>My own view is that the superiority of Marx's theory is that he develops a
>concept of value as the *means* whereby the labour of private producers in
>a capitalist system is socially distributed. The social substance of
>commodities (as values) cannot be labour as such (because labour has a
>two-fold nature), but must be only the abstract aspect of labour (which has
>no immediate measure). If the private/concrete aspects of the labour
>process (eg production of surplus value) are subsumed, or dominated by the
>abstract aspects in their money form then a quantitative measure of surplus
>value does what? I think that the measure of surplus value is seen to be
>unnecessary to VF *reconstructed* theory of value (but correct me guys if
>i'm wrong). Whether it is useful to see the labour process and the
>valorisation process as one and the same is, of course, another question.
Nicky, you are right value form theory is more interested in the 'how'
rather than the 'how much'; but I think we should not give up on the latter
without a very good reason.
P. S. Please note that I have a new Email address,
but the old one will also run until next summer. (To be doubly sure load both!)
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