The independent being-for-itself of Value

More on value in terms of autonomous personification and inversion:

“The independent being-for-itself of value in the form of money (as value) or materially in the form of productive capital, means of production, which also includes means of subsistence — hence its being as capital — the separateness of the conditions of labour vis-á-vis living labour capacity, which goes so far that these conditions confront the person of the worker in the person of the capitalist — as a personification with its own will and interest — this absolute divorce, separation of property, i.e. of objective wealth, from living labour capacity — that they confront it as alien property, as the reality of another juridical person, as the absolute realm of his will; and that on the other hand, therefore, labour appears as alien labour vis-á-vis the value personified in the capitalist, or vis-á-vis the conditions of labour — this absolute separation between property and labour, between value and value-creating activity — hence also the fact that the content of labour is alien to the worker himself — this separation now appears as the product of labour itself, as the objectification of its own moments. For through, or in, the act of production itself — which only confirms the exchange between capital and living labour that preceded it — the total result of labour (of both necessary and surplus labour) is posited as capital. Labour capacity has appropriated only the means of subsistence necessary for its reproduction, i.e. for its reproduction as mere labour capacity separated from the conditions of its realisation, and it has posited these conditions themselves as objects, values, which confront it in an alien, commanding personification. It emerges from the process not only no richer but actually poorer than it entered into it. For not only has it created the conditions of living labour as capital; but the valorisation inherent in it as a potentiality, the value-creating potentiality, now also exists as surplus value, surplus product, surplus capital; as value endowed with its own power and will confronting it in its abstract, objectless, purely subjective poverty. Not only has it produced alien wealth and its own poverty, but also the relationship of this wealth as self-sufficient wealth to itself as poverty, which this wealth consumes to draw new life and spirit to itself and to valorise itself anew.

All the moments of surplus capital are the product of alien labour — alien surplus labour converted into capital. It no longer seems here, as it still did when we first considered the production process, as if capital, for its part, brought with it some sort of value from circulation. The objective conditions of labour now appear rather as labour’s product — both in so far as they are value in general, and as use values for production. But if capital thus appears as the product of labour, the product of labour for its part appears as capital — objectified labour as dominion, command; over living labour. Labour thus appears to be active in the production process in such a way that it simultaneously rejects its realisation in objective conditions as an alien reality, and therefore posits itself as an insubstantial, merely necessitous labour capacity in face of this reality alienated from it, a reality not belonging to it but to others; that it posits its own reality not as a being-for-itself but as a mere being for something else, and hence also as a mere other-being or as the being of something else confronting it.” MECW 34 pp. 202-3

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About HR

Deep in the adjunct crackhole.
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2 Responses to The independent being-for-itself of Value

  1. Mike Tucker says:

    This it seems to me to be one of the clearest examples that you have found of Marx describing the contradictory social relationship of Capital and Labour Power within the unity of value and use value and that this shows the construction of a social relationship of domination and of how the oppressed participate in their own oppression. Its like a summary of the whole process of Capital. This to me shows the clear continuity of his thinking if not without development from his thinking in the Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts even in the jumbled fragments that we have.

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