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[Xmca-l] Re: units of mathematics education
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- Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: units of mathematics education
- From: Andy Blunden <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Date: Tue, 28 Oct 2014 11:31:49 +1100
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A commodity is therefore a mysterious thing, simply because in it the
social character of men’s labour appears to them as an objective
character stamped upon the product of that labour; because the relation
of the producers to the sum total of their own labour is presented to
them as a social relation, existing not between themselves, but between
the products of their labour. This is the reason why the products of
labour become commodities, social things whose qualities are at the same
time perceptible and imperceptible by the senses. In the same way the
light from an object is perceived by us not as the subjective excitation
of our optic nerve, but as the objective form of something outside the
eye itself. But, in the act of seeing, there is at all events, an actual
passage of light from one thing to another, from the external object to
the eye. There is a physical relation between physical things. But it is
different with commodities. There, the existence of the things /quâ
/commodities, and the value relation between the products of labour
which stamps them as commodities, have absolutely no connection with
their physical properties and with the material relations arising
therefrom. There it is a definite social relation between men, that
assumes, in their eyes, the fantastic form of a relation between things.
In order, therefore, to find an analogy, we must have recourse to the
mist-enveloped regions of the religious world. In that world the
productions of the human brain appear as independent beings endowed with
life, and entering into relation both with one another and the human
race. So it is in the world of commodities with the products of men’s
hands. This I call the Fetishism which attaches itself to the products
of labour, so soon as they are produced as commodities, and which is
therefore inseparable from the production of commodities.
This Fetishism of commodities has its origin, as the foregoing analysis
has already shown, in the peculiar social character of the labour that
Martin John Packer wrote:
Yes, of course the commodity has its genesis and its demise in cycles of production, exchange, distribution, and consumption, in which its value(s) are created and dissipated. Its material properties are hardly irrelevant to its value - it's just that a chemist is not doing the right kind of science to detect value. It seems very odd to suggest that "exchange of commodities" is the unit of analysis here, since Marx insists that production always has priority over exchange and consumption. It is the commodity itself which in its form contains the central contradiction between use value and exchange value.
On Oct 27, 2014, at 6:16 PM, Andy Blunden <email@example.com> wrote:
I agree that Marx's formulation in the beginning of Chapter 1 and also in the Preface are ambiguous, but the whole drift of the work is that value is not a property of a material artefact but of a social relation.
"In the analysis of economic forms, moreover, neither microscopes
nor chemical reagents are of use. The force of abstraction must
replace both. But in bourgeois society, the commodity-form of the
product of labour — or value-form of the commodity — is the economic
cell-form." (Preface to First German Edition)
Marx goes to great lengths to show that there is nothing about the commodity itself - the material object - which gives it value or human powers. See the concluding paragraph of Chapter 1: "So far no chemist has ever discovered exchange value either in a pearl or a diamond."
Martin John Packer wrote:
Marx's unit of analysis in Capital was the commodity, right? Not the exchange of commodities.
"The wealth of those societies in which the capitalist mode of production prevails, presents itself as “an immense accumulation of commodities,” its unit being a single commodity. Our investigation must therefore begin with the analysis of a commodity."
"A commodity appears, at first sight, a very trivial thing, and easily understood. Its analysis shows that it is, in reality, a very queer thing, abounding in metaphysical subtleties and theological niceties."
On Oct 26, 2014, at 11:31 PM, Andy Blunden <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
Remember that when Marx chose an exchange of commodities as a unit of analysis of bourgeois society, he knew full-well that commodities are rarely exchanged - they are bought and sold. But Marx did not "include" money in the unit of analysis.