[Marxism] Heinrich

Angelus Novus fuerdenkommunismus at yahoo.com
Sat Feb 16 21:22:05 MST 2013

William Cockshott wrote:

> Clearly unless a coat is exchanged against money or another commodity it 
> is not acting as a commodity, and does not have an exchange value but that > does not mean that it is not the product of human labour in general, 
> labour that is part of the social division of labour. 

But that is not what Marx is saying.  Marx is also saying that, when they are not commodities, products of human labor also do not possess objectivity as values ("Wertgegenständlichkeit"), hence are not "congelations of human labor per se" (i.e., of abstract labor).


> Same applies here - there is no commodity without commodity exchange

Correct, and it also possesses no value.  Again, Marx: "a product of labor, considered in isolation, is not value"


> Again unless things are exchanged they have no exchange value, but this > does not support Heinrich's claims about abstract labour.

Marx does not say "exchange value", he says "value".  You are mixing up your terms.  Exchange value is merely the quantity of a particular commodity that expresses the value of another commodity.  And again, this does indeed support Heinrich's claim (or rather, Marx's claim), since it is abstract labor which is the **substance of value**.


> Yes, in a commodity producing society the only routine operational 
> procedure by which the labour content of goods is measured is via 
> exchange

But that is not what the quotation is saying!  Go back and read it!  Marx says that it is only the act of exchange that reduces various acts of concrete labor to the abstraction of human labor in general!


> If you can not independently measure labour content you dont have a 
> scientific theory of value

Well you'll just have to wait until the English translation of _The Science of Value_ comes out to see if the book redeems its title.  ;-)

Ralph Johansen wrote:

> Heinrich sets out two objections (on page 42) to Marx's LTV

I'm sorry, but I find it a very disingenuous style of argumentation to argue that an author is raising an "objection" to Marx's value theory, rather than offering his interpretation of it.

The specific example you use, of virgin soil, is stated by Marx himself.  Objects that are not products of human labor, have, BY DEFINITION, no value, since the substance of value is abstract labor.  Again, Marx:

"A thing can be a use value, without having value. This is the case whenever its utility to man is not due to labour. Such are air, virgin soil, natural meadows, &c."  (Capital, Vol. I, Chapter One)

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