Juan Inigo's last LTV post

Steve.Keen at unsw.EDU.AU Steve.Keen at unsw.EDU.AU
Fri Sep 16 21:56:36 MDT 1994

Juan, I don't know when you started reading the LTV debate; my feeling
is that it must have been some time after it started, since I gave a
large number of unabridged quotes of Marx in it to support my argument.
I will make one more now--and it will probably be my last word on it:

"Is not value to be conceived as the unity of use
value and exchange value? In and for itself, is value as such the
general form, in opposition to use value and exchange value as
particular forms of it? Does this have significance in
economics? Use-value presupposed even in simple exchange or
barter. But here, where exchange takes place only for the
reciprocal use of the commodity, the use-value, i.e., the
content, the natural particularity of the commodity has no such
standing as an economic form. Its form, rather, is exchange
value. The content apart from this form is irrelevant; is not a
content of the relation as a social relation. But does this
content as such not develop into a system of needs and
production? Does not use-value as such enter into the form
itself, as a determinant of the form itself, e.g. in the relation
of capital and labour? the different forms of
labour?--agriculture, industry, etc.--ground
rent?--effect of the seasons on raw product prices? etc. If
*only* exchange value as such plays a role in economics, then
how could elements later enter which relate purely to use value,
such as, right away, in the case of capital as raw material,
etc.? How is it that the physical composition of the soil
suddenly drops out of the sky in Ricardo? The word _ware_
[commodity] (German <I>Guter<D> [goods] perhaps as _denree_
[good] as distinct from _marchandise_ [commodity]?) contains
the connection. The price appears as a merely formal aspect of
it. This is not in the slightest contradicted by the fact that
exchange value is the predominant aspect. But of course use does
not come to a halt because it is determined _only_ by
exchange; although of course it obtains its direction thereby. In
any case, this is to be examined with exactitude in the
examination of value, and not, as Ricardo does, to be entirely
abstracted from, nor like the dull Say, who puffs himself up
witht the mere presupposition of the word `utility'. Above all
it will and must become clear in the development of the
individual sections to what extent use-value exists not only as
presupposed matter, outside economics and its forms, but to what
extent it enters into it. Proudhon's nonsense, see the
`Misere'. This much is certain: in exchange we have (in
circulation) the commodity--use-value--as price; that it
is, apart from its price, a commodity, an object of need, goes
without saying. The two aspects in no way enter into relation
with each other, except in so far as the particular use value
appears as the natural limit of the commodity and hence posits
money, i.e., its exchange value, simultaneously as an existence
apart from itself, in money, but only formally. Money itself is a
commodity, has a use-value for its substance."
(P. 267-68 Grundrisse)

That's the lead I've been following, Juan. You're welcome to
follow it up in your own time, and in your own way. I have tired
of "typing myself hoarse" in setting it out to you.

Steve Keen


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