technology and other stuff

Roger Odisio rodisio at
Fri Mar 12 11:38:23 PST 1999

>my reservations are these: until such time as someone can convince me
>that the phrase 'private property' does not entail a specific moment
>in capitalist society -- ie., one in which the degrees of
>personalised command and ownership by capitalists over/of labourers
>was still not only operative but decisive -- as distinct from
>capitalism defined as the law of value (both exchange and use values
>as double moments of the value form) then i prefer to distinguish it
>as such, if only to distinguish communism from social democracy and
>socialism. where the latter are defined as more or less by changes in
>the distribution and ownership of exchange values.

Private property does not entail either a specific moment or personalized control by individual capitalists. Private property in the MOP is now and always has been the basis for capital's claim over surplus value, which is the basis for capital's control over the labor process, and labor itself. Capital as a social relation remains hegemonic (in its control of labor), even as the identity of indivdual capitalists at the top changes, and even as ownership and control of money capital have been (partially) separated as stock ownership has broadened.

Further, let me answer your references to value this way. There are actually three uses of the term, not two: exchange value, use value, and value as an analytical concept used by Marx. Exchange value and use value are straightforward concepts, corresponding to price and some form of intrinsic usefulness, respectively. The three Marxian value categories (c,v,s), however, are *calculated* amounts designed analytically to illuminate the system. C corresponds to depreciation, itself a calculated number in the NIPA (except, there, some form of straight line method is used, with limited use of economic obselence; Marx implies something closer to "one horse shay" depreciation, I think). V is the social reproduction cost of labor, based on living conditions as well as the need for physical subsistence. And s is simply the residual, after c and v have been paid out of the product. So analytical use of these categories is "capitalism defined as the law of value" in your terms. I don't see "exchange and use values as double moments of the value form", but rather double masks for public appearance, behind which Marx sought to delve. If you disagree, perhaps you could explain.

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