[Marxism] What is the Purpose of Marx's Value Theory?
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Sun May 12 13:44:36 MDT 2013
"The next task is to examine Marx's theory of value within the context of his theory of commodity fetishism, since, as Rubin points out, "The theory of fetishism is, per se, the basis of Marx's entire economic system, and in particular of his theory of value" (Rubin, p. 5 ). In this context, Rubin distinguishes three aspects of value: it is "( 1) a social relation among people, (2) which assumes a material form and (3) is related to the process of production" (Rubin, p. 63). The subject of the theory of value is the working activity of people, or as Rubin defines it: "The subject matter of the theory of value is the interrelations of various forms of labor in the process of their distribution, which is established through the relation of exchange among things, i.e., products of labor" (Rubin, p. 67). In other words, the subject of the theory of value is labor as it is manifested in the commodity economy: here labor does not take the form of conscious,
creative participation in the process of transforming the material rnvnonmcnt: it takes the form of abstract labor which is congealed in commodities and sold on the market as value. "The specific character of the commodity economy consists of the fact that the material-technical process of production is not directly regulated by society but is directed by individual commodity producers. . . . The private labor of separate commodity producers is connected with the labor of all other commodity producers and becomes social labor only if the product of one producer is equalized as a value with all other commodities" (Rubin, p. 70). Before analyzing how labor is allocated through the equalization of things, namely how human activity is regulated in capitalist society, Rubin points out that the form which labor takes in capitalist society is the form of value: "The reification of labor in value is the most important conclusion of the theory of fetishism,
which explains the inevitability of 'reification' of production relations among people in a commodity economy" (Rubin, p. 72). Thus the theory of value is about the regulation of labor; it is the fact that most critics of the theory failed to grasp."
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