The Commodity Form and Marx’s method of presentation in 1861-63.

Riveting passage on the commodity form and the manner in which Marx presents it at more complex degrees of determination. He also hints at the circularity of his method of presentation:

“We start with the commodity, this specific social form of the product, as the foundation and prerequisite of capitalist production. We take individual products and analyse those distinctions of form which they have as commodities, which stamp them as commodities. In earlier modes of production — preceding capitalist production — a large part of the output never enters into circulation, is never placed on the market, is not produced as commodities, and does not become commodities. On the other hand, at that time a large part of the products which enter into. production are not commodities and do not enter into the process as commodities. The transformation of products into commodities only occurs in individual cases, is limited only to the surplus of production, etc., or only to individual spheres of production (manufactured products), etc. A whole range of products neither enter into the process as articles to be sold, nor arise from it as such. Nevertheless, the prerequisite, the starting-point, of the formation of capital and of capitalist production is the development of the product into a commodity, commodity circulation and consequently money circulation within certain limits, and consequently trade developed to a certain degree. It is as such a prerequisite that we treat the commodity, since we proceed from it as the simplest element in capitalist production. On the other hand, the product, the result of capitalist production, is the commodity. What appears as its element is later revealed to be its own product. Only on the basis of capitalist production does the commodity become the general form of the product and the more this production develops, the more do the products in the form of commodities enter into the process as ingredients. The commodity, as it emerges in capitalist production, is different from the commodity taken as the element, the starting- point of capitalist production. We are no longer faced with the individual commodity, the individual product. The individual commodity, the individual product, manifests itself not only as a real product but also as a commodity, as a part both really and conceptually of production as a whole. Each individual commodity [represents] a definite portion of capital and of the surplus value created by it.” mecw 32. 300- 301

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About HR

Deep in the adjunct crackhole.
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