[Marxism] What is the purpose of Marx's value theory?

turbulo at aol.com turbulo at aol.com
Mon May 13 13:42:56 MDT 2013

Angelus Novus wrote:

"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."

Like, for instance, David Harvey in his lectures on "Capital". This
all-important concept escapes him entirely.

J. C.

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