value (reposting 2)

Juan Inigo jinigo at
Sat Sep 17 22:42:41 MDT 1994

from part 1

Which social necessity does Steve personify so as to make him desperately
attempt to present Marx as the true source of Steve's negation of what Marx
has discovered concerning the specific determinations of capitalism?

>It is this logic of Marx which I have explored at great length,
>and which you in your posts effectively refuse to acknowledge. I
>would contrast this with my exchanges with Chris, where he has
>seriously considered whether my arguments accurately reflect
>how Marx devised his theory.

"At great length" should be understood as "not beyond circulation"? Still,
there is a further question here. Could Steve present us a quotation (once
more, a quotation not an interpretation) where Marx himself names his
scientific procedure "his" or just "a" logic? Marx actually says something
about the place of logic in science once, and it isn't a compliment at all.
So, is it "this logic of Marx" that Steve has "explored at great length",
or is the logic he has constructed and attributed to Marx, which I
"effectively refuse to acknowledge"? In fact, I don't refuse to acknowledge
it, all I do is to question it in demand of an answer, but it goes on
running away from a forced quotation to another refusing to answer me.

No wonder Steve feels much more comfortable with Chris than with me. Chris
conceives use-value as the substance of value, and concrete-labor as the
specific use-value that the commodity labor-power has for the capitalist;
at the same time, he insists in making use-value into a purely qualitative
abstraction and value into a purely quantitative abstraction. Concerning
myself, I will have to live with the fact that I've been expelled from the
kingdom of "seriousness" by ... Steve!

>Instead, what I get from our debate is how Juan Inigo establishes
>the LTV. With respect, I am no more interested in that than I
>am in, for example, how Steve Keen establishes the LTV (if that
>were my purpose). I AM interested in how Marx attempted to
>establish it, and I argue that his underlying logic--what I
>have called the use-value/exchange-value dialectic--was
>impeccable, but that his application of it was flawed.

I'm not interested in "how Juan Inigo establishes the LTV" (which, by the
way, is something I've never done, as I have pointed out above), nor in
"how Steve Keen establishes the LTV" (which is of course on Steve's
account), nor even in "how Marx attempted to establish it" (again, where
does he say he attempts to?). I'm interested in how we develop our
scientific cognition as the concrete form of regulating our action towards
superseding our society into a consciously, that is, freely, organized one.
Therefore, I'm interested in how we "reproduce the concrete by the path of
thought" as the "proper scientific method", but not in how somebody
"interprets the world." Isn't this what Marx himself is interested in? But
maybe this will sound to "convoluted" to Steve.

>When I said that I could find no question in your point (a),
>that was a statement concerning grammar, not logic. I
>generally find your postings very convoluted and difficult
>to read, with the final sentence in that paragraph being an
>excellent example: to the best of my knowledge, it was

Nobody is more aware than myself concerning my limitations in the usage of
the English language. So I always will give Steve the handicap of saying
there is a problem with my grammar instead of with his understanding of
what I say. Still, there is a point in which my knowledge of English
grammar doesn't fail me: I can perfectly well distinguish which is the
grammatical subject of a given sentence (specially after I've checked it
with two different Spanish translations, an Italian and a French
translation, and of course, with the original German text of the
Grundrisse; but perhaps I'm not taking this stuff of how Steve quotes Marx

>Now that I have been told which phrase in
>it was the question, "which is the general regulation of
>present-day social metabolism process", as you've elucidated
>it, I could attempt an answer. I am not particularly interested in
>doing so, for the reason stated above.

At last, and beyond any reluctance, it looks as Steve is going to give me a
concrete answer to one of my questions!

>However, I will refer you
>to the statement of Marx's I quoted at the beginning of this
>post, where he says that use value "belongs
>in this sphere only when it is itself a determinate form."
>Clearly then, Marx believed that use-value did become a determinate
>issue in capitalism. I suggest you consider both the original
>references and the work of Rosdolsky, Groll and myself to see how
>that occurred.

It was too good to be true. All I've got is an isolated quotation, some
ambiguous assertion on what Marx "believed"(?) concerning use-value, and
the suggestion that I should look for the answer elsewhere. Contrary to
this attitude, I've been presenting once and again in my postings which are
the strict places use-value occupies all along the development of the
commodity form until it reaches its specific capital form. It is in this
development where, as Marx discovered, value itself determines the capacity
to perform labor, which is not by itself a means for human life but a
moment of the human social metabolism process, into an use-value for
someone different from its natural possessor and, consequently, into a
commodity (labor-power).

Again, my two questions remain effective and still unanswered. But, at this
stage, I don't expect any longer a substantiated reply from Steve to them.

>From the fact that the general social relation is embodied in the material
forms of social production, this relation appears to commodity producers as
an attribute inherent in the material form of their products. Capitalism
completely develops this fetishism of commodities, making all human
potencies (that is, the potencies of living labor) appear as capital's
(that is, materialized labor) potencies. Through this inversion, the
capacity of living labor to produce surplus-value appears as a capacity
inherent in dead labor, and therefore, as an attribute common to all the
use-values in which capital takes material form.

Vulgar economy is socially determined as the ideological personification of
capital that has as its specific aim to consecrate these appearances by
providing them with an apparent scientific foundation. Through his
scientific procedure, Marx turned all these appearances completely visible
as the inverted ideological forms that human potencies take when alienated
in capital. He thus made scientifically clear that value, and therefore,
surplus-value, have no other source than human labor, as corresponds to the
purely social forms that they are. After Marx's scientific discoveries,
could vulgar economy have a more ambitious aim that to present Marx himself
as saying that the use-value of all commodities is the true source of
surplus-value? Steve has certainly made his point clear. He has settled the
discussion without needing to answer my two questions.

Juan Inigo
jinigo at


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