Value (to John Ernst 1/4)

Juan Inigo jinigo at
Fri Nov 10 00:10:07 MST 1995

John Ernst writes

>I must say that this sounds like much ado about
>something you have in mind. (See below)
>Let's (you and I) agree to whatever you
>are saying about value.  Now tell me about
>the FRP or crisis theory.  If you've got the problems
>solved with those concepts, I'd like to know
>the solutions.  If not,  maybe you've got a good starting
>point or maybe you don't.   Let's not argue over the
>starting point, but move forward.  Slapping Keen around
>get's us nowhere.  As I recall, Marx said that crises would
>drum dialectics into the heads of even some of the
>upper class.  So let's get on with the task of showing how
>reality itself produces the truth of the analysis.  Here, my
>friend, is Rhodes, now jump.  I'm listening.
>Should you choose not to move forward, it does indeed seem
>to me that what you say is religious.  It is as though Marx
>argued with others solely on the basis of  Chapter 1-7 of
>CAPITAL.   If capitalism were somehow crisis free, those
>chapters would mean little.  Arguing about what determines
>exchange value would be a job for Jesuits not Marxists.  We
>could discuss the matter right after we determined just how many
>angels .....

At first sight, John's way of looking at the nature of Chapter 1-7 of
Capital makes me recall an old columnist in a newspaper here, whose
leitmotiv more or less literally was: "What had I been were I not what I
am." Yet, his was a humorist column, while John's assertion involves a
serious question: Is "Capital I 1-7" an ideal construction whose necessity
has to be justified by the concrete forms that capital takes (crisis, for
instance, and of course, class struggle) or is it in itself the
reproduction in thought of the simplest determinations of these concrete
forms? In the latter case, could we appropriate in thought the necessity
that determines these concrete forms, and therefore, what actually matters,
the necessity of our own transforming action upon reality to consciously
rule it, if we isolate them from the development itself of this, their own

To anyone that has red my posts to this list, my answer will be obvious:
the point is to reproduce in thought the necessity of a concrete real form,
starting from its more abstract one until reaching this necessity as a
potency that has our conscious action as the necessary form of realizing
itself. If we confine our process of cognition to the concrete real forms
as such, these forms become isolated from their own necessity and,
therefore, turned in thought into pure abstractions; the action based upon
their consequent logical representation cannot go beyond being an action
ruled on the basis of appearances, and therefore, an action in which the
alienation of human consciousness as a power of capital simply affirms
itself. Still, the same happens if we confine our process of cognition to
the abstract real forms as such (value, for instance). In this case, since
we can only act upon value through value's concrete forms, the lack of
cognition of the real development of value determining them (and, hence,
determining the necessary form of our conscious action itself) will leave
us powerless to define the shape of our action by reproducing in thought
the complete development of its necessity; and since the time for action
unavoidably arrives in a constantly renewed flow, we will find ourselves
again acting on the basis of appearances.

So I cannot agree more with John when he claims for the necessity to move
forward, starting from the simplest forms of our general social relation
(concerning whose development he completely agrees wit me), beyond these
simplest forms and into their concrete ones. In fact, this is what my whole
research work has been and currently is about. But does John actually agree
with himself? Not to turn this into an abstract question, let us follow
John as he faces some concrete forms in his posts.

Given the length that presenting the results of this task will demand, I
will develop it through three further posts with the same reference, being
this number 1, followed by:

2) Productivity and technical composition of capital
3) "Simultaneous or historical determination"
4) "Typical commodities," or what jump are we talking about?

Juan Inigo
jinigo at

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