Marx on Wagner.

With six weeks to go until I hand in the focus is on working on my presentation and my structure and weaving the separately written chapters together. But before I do that I’m padding out the footnotes in my newly restructured Marx chapter whilst being tired and incoherent from a day of slicing paper.

In the course of doing this I’ve been reminded of two things:

(1) I really wish I could get away with Marx style criticisms in my lit review. Perhaps I will insert a few of Marx’s more choice attacks and see if my supervisors notice. For instance I would love to state that further treatment of Deborah Cook’s ‘twaddle on this issue is superfluous’ or refer to Federic  Vandenberghe as the prototype of a windbag.

(2) Notes on Wagner rules. Particularly pleased to be reminded of the following, which I read as good summary of how the fetish character –as the social character of labour in which value appertains essentially to the thing itself’— relates to Marx’s theory of value:

the entire shallowness of Rodbertus, however, emerges in his contrast between “logical” and “historical” concepts! He grasps “value” (the economic value, in contrast to the use-value of the commodity) only in its form of appearance, in exchange-value, and since this only occurs when at least some part of the products of labour, the objects of utility, function as “commodities” this not, however, happening from the outset, but only at a certain period of social development, in other words, at a definite stage of historical development, then exchange-value is a “historical” concept. Now if Rodbertus—and I will point out later why he did not see it—had gone on to analyse the exchange-value of commodities—for it only exists where commodity occurs in the plural, different sorts of commodities, then he would have found “value” behind this form of appearance. If he had further gone on to investigate value, he would have further found that here the thing, the “use-value,” amounts to a mere concretisation of human labour, as the expenditure of equal human labour-power, and therefore this content is presented as the concrete character of the thing, as a character appertaining essentially to the thing itself, although this objectivity does not appear in its natural form //which, however, necessitates a special form of value//.  He would have found, then, that the “value” of the commodity merely expresses in a historically developed form something which also exists in all other historical forms of society, albeit in a different form, namely the social character of labour, insofar as it exists as expenditure of “social” labour-power.  If, then, “the value” of the commodity is merely a particular historical form of something which exists in all forms of society, the same must be true of the “social use-value,” as it characterises the “use-value” of the commodity. Mr. Rodbertus has the measure of the magnitude of value from Ricardo; but he himself has neither examined nor grasped the substance of value any more than Ricardo did; e.g. the “communal” character of the [labour process] in the primitive community as the common organism of the labour-powers belonging together, and hence that of their labour, i.e. the expenditure of these powers.

 

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About HR

Deep in the adjunct crackhole.
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