[OPE-L:5827] [PAUL C] Re: commodities, money, and value

Gerald Levy (glevy@pratt.edu)
Fri, 12 Dec 1997 09:50:01 -0500 (EST)

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Paul is right -- he mistakingly sent two messages to me rather than the
list. I am forwarding his messages./ In solidarity, Jerry

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Fri, 12 Dec 1997 09:00:16 +0000
From: Paul Cockshott <wpc@cs.strath.ac.uk>
To: Gerald Levy <glevy@pratt.edu>
Subject: [OPE-L:5827] Re: Re: commodities, money, and value

Gerald Levy wrote:

> > > Yet, for a commodity to have value it must possess exchange-value.
> > No. The reverse holds. To possess exchange value it must posses value.
> For a product of human labour to be a commodity, it must have use-value
> and value and that value must come to be expressed via the value-form. To
> say that a "commodity" can have value without having exchange value
> requires that we divorce the category of "commodity" from money, the
> market, circulation, and exchange -- an unacceptable option if we are to
> understand in thought the operation of the capitalist mode of production.

With respect Gerry you are begging the question. You are saying that
the definition of a commodity implies that it exchanged it must have
value. This still begs the question as to how it came to be a commodity
the first place, and why things which have use value but no value, say
spring rain
or summer sunshine are not commodities. Since value is a precondition of
exchange value, if one restricts ones attention to things that already
exchange value one fails to consider the other categories of interest
1. things which have no value and hence can not become commodities
2. things which have value, but which do not become commodities
because they are produced under non-capitalist social

> > > I.e. money and the value-form are a necessary
> > > form of appearance of value in a generalized commodity-producing society.
> > Money is a form of appearance or measurement of value, but value must
> > preceed money logically, for otherwise there is nothing to measure.
> Without money, what is there to measure?
Social labour time. Money and prices are a historically specific way of
regulating the division of social labour time. As a means of measurement
of labour
money has many restrictions, but the proposition that money is just a
historically transitory way of doing this is a basic premis of the
political stance. Communism holds that money is going to be abolished
replaced by the direct and conscious regulation of social labour time.

> It can't be value since the
> category of value (and capital) under capitalism necessarily requires
> money. E.g. without money, how can we get M - C - M'?
Why are we, as critics of capitalism supposed to restrict our conceptual
view to its narrow horizons.

> You see the category of value as logically preceding the categories of
> the value-form and money. I assert, rather, that all of these categories
> are mutually dependent and dialectically related.
If you take this view you will never be able to understand socialist
economic relations.