Re: general, particular Holzkamp, Engeström

From: Wolff-Michael Roth (
Date: Wed Oct 13 2004 - 15:12:40 PDT

This is true only for use-less things, which by definition involves
useless work...
        Even when there is no capitalism, not exchange, useful work/labor
produces value, use-value. Whether it also produces (exchange) value
depends on the situation, Marx gives examples, the independent family
where things are produced to be used but are not exchanged, old Indian
communities where the same relations hold.
        If you take Damasio's work, everything we do is to create higher
emotional valence--which is a form of value created by work.

On 13-Oct-04, at 3:03 PM, Bruce Robinson wrote:

> Michael,
> Marx emphatically does not say that all labour produces value.
> Firstly, labour only takes the form of value under capitalism or more
> precisely commodity production. Secondly, if I go out and dig my
> garden, I perform an act of labour (transform nature) without exchange
> and it is not measured in value terms. It has use value to me and no
> one else (except perhaps my neighbours who are fed up with looking at
> weeds but that is hardly a pre-condition;)). To say Marx is 'not
> interested in this' (which is true because he is talking about
> commodities) is not the point.
> In the second quote, Marx is obviously talking about exchange where
> the commodity has to have use value for the buyer - i.e. an other.
> This is not necessarily true for labour in general, which he defines
> at the start of Ch.7 as 'Labour is, in the first place, a process in
> which both man and Nature participate, and in which man of his own
> accord starts, regulates, and controls the material re-actions between
> himself and Nature.' (from the Penguin translation is
> better).
> I'm not sure where your quotes come from as I don't know which English
> edition (and i only have three!). Perhaps you could give the whole
> paragraph or context in English and German.
> Bruce
> (p.61) All labor ... produces value (of commodity)
> (p.88) The two-fold social character of the labour of the individual
> appears to him, when reflected in his brain, only under those forms
> which are impressed upon that labour in every-day practice by the
> exchange of products. In this way, the character that his own labour
> possesses of being socially useful takes the form of the condition,
> that the product must be not only useful, but useful for others,
> ((THis translation was taken from the English version on
> The product of labor must be useful, importantly, for others...
> So labor already implies the usefulness of the product for others...
> Marx is not interested in production for my own needs, like my labor
> of running an organic garden and eating my own vegetables year round.
> On a final note, the English translation is atrocious. Marx wanted a
> readable work, and was proud that commentators described the Kapital
> as readable, even by non-academics. The English translation does not,
> in my view, do justice to the original, and leaves out many of the
> important shades of meaning... tradutore traditore
> Michael
> On 13-Oct-04, at 1:09 AM, Steve Gabosch wrote:
> Michael, where does Marx say this?
> "Marx clearly says that all activity implies the exchange situation
> ..."
> Thanks,
> ~ Steve
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