[OPE-L:1173] Re: surplus production and the value-form

From: Paul Cockshott (wpc@dcs.gla.ac.uk)
Date: Fri Sep 10 1999 - 10:21:17 EDT

At 08:10 10/09/99 -0400, Gerald Levy wrote:
>Paul C wrote in [OPE-L:1169]:
> > I don't think that Marx actually ever says that the surplus production
> > 'must' take a value form in a capitalist system.
>Perhaps not. Yet, he starts Part 1 of V1 (appropriately titled "Commodities
>and Money") with the words:
> "The wealth of those societies in which the capitalist mode of
> production prevails, presents itself as 'an immense
> accumulation of commodities,' its unit being a single
> commodity."

Of course I am aware of this, but does not prove the previous point.
The point is that at least some of the surplus takes the form of
surplus value in the circuit m-c-m', and the appeance of the latter
seems to contradict the principles of equivalent exchange.
The fact that some surplus value exists in the form (m-m') does
not constrain the entire surplus product to take that form.
Some of the surplus in a capitalist society never appears as profit,
i.e., surplus value in the circuit m-c-m', but as unproductive costs.

>His concern in _Capital_ was thus not surplus production in general, but
>(initially) the commodity-form and capitalism. And, as Marx made
>abundantly and repeatedly clear, commodities under capitalism must by
>definition have a) use-value; b) exchange-value, i.e. the value-form; and
>c) value.

His exposition in Capital was commodity production and capitalism, but
his theoretically prior concern was historical materialism, see the German
Ideology. I would say that the logical exposition starting from the commodity
was, in Capital, an order of exposition not an order of discovery.
The general principles of historical materialism come first, then comes
their application to capitalism, then finally comes the process of writing
a book about the latter. The order of the book is not necessarily the order
of the authors concerns, either logically or in terms of their personal
ideological development.

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