[OPE-L:5817] commodities, money, and value

Gerald Levy (glevy@pratt.edu)
Thu, 11 Dec 1997 11:33:01 -0500 (EST)

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Paul C wrote on Thu, 11 Dec:

> The value of a commodity depends upon the amount of social
> labour required to make it. If we say that an apple has
> a value of 3mins 45 seconds, we are saying that a certain fraction
> of the attention of the collective labourer had to be
> allocated to the production of the apple for a certain
> period of time. This involves the division of labour because
> the working day of the collective labourer has to be divided
> between a lot of different activities, and it is only by virtue
> of this division that we can count up the time directly and
> indirectly necessary to produce the apple.

Here we see reflected (imho), once again, one of the theoretical divides
on the list: namely, different understandings concerning the relationship
between value and money in a capitalist economy. In Paul's description
of value representation above nowhere do we see a role for *money*. All
we see is labour time. Yet, for a commodity to have value it must
possess exchange-value. I.e. money and the value-form are a necessary
form of appearance of value in a generalized commodity-producing society.

Yet elsewhere, in other contexts, Paul has recognized (and indeed even
emphasized) the link between commodities and money. Yet, when we come to
the relationship between value, labour-time, and money, money seems
somehow to disappear from the scene. Why is that? I think this issue is
closely related to previous discussions that we have had on single-system
versus dual-system interpretations (and, relatedly, on Sraffian

In solidarity, Jerry