Class 2 German

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Class 2

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»NEIL SMITH:
Woran ich mich erinnere ist, dass die
Diskussionen sich damals sehr oft

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um den Wortlaut des Textes drehten.

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Und wenn ich mich mit den Schülern heute
unterhalte bekomme ich den Eindruck

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dass das zwar durchaus noch eine Rolle spielt,
wenn du über das Buch sprichst,

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aber die

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Art wie du es vermittelst sich wirklich weiter entwickelt hat,

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und sich über die Zeit verändert hat.

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In gewisser Hinsicht wurde es viel größer, man sitzt
nicht länger einfach um einen kleinen Seminartisch

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wo es einen Lesekreis gibt, heute ist es eine viel grössere
Gruppe. Du hast sicher die selbe Mischung an

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Akademikern, Studenten, Mitgliedern der Fakultät,
Aktivisten usw. die mitmachen.

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Gleichzeitig hab ich den Eindruck,
dass sich deine Herangehensweise

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an das Buch sich doch sehr verändert hat.
Es würde mich sehr interressieren, ob du

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dazu etwas sagen möchtest.
»DAVID HARVEY:
Das ist eine großartige Sache, etwas über diese ganze Zeit zu machen,

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wenn du darüber nachdenkst,

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über vierzig Jahre immer wieder über das selbe Buch zu sprechen,
das hört sich an wie eine unglaublich eintönige Beschäftigung.

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Und die meisten Menschen, die über vierzig
Jahre immer über das das selbe Thema referierten,

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würden dabei wahnsinnig werden,

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wenn sie es versuchten. Aber

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jedes Mal wenn ich es lese,
finde ich eine neue Perspektive auf es.

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Aus dieser neuen Perspektive sehe ich manchmal Dinge,
die ich vorher nicht gesehen habe, die mir aber nun aber

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als etwas sehr Wichtiges ins Auge fallen.

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Abgesehen davon, ändern sich
die Umstände ständig,

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die Interessen der Menschen,

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der intellektuelle Hintergrund
mit dem sie auf "Das Kapital"

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zugehen ändert sich,

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**daher kann man den Text nehmen **

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und ihn auf die

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wechselden historischen und geographischen
Umstände anwenden, was tatsächlich … tatsächlich in sich

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selbst eine eine interessante Übung ist. Ich habe das immer
als eine aufregende Sache empfunden.

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Aber, die andere Sache ist,

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dass ich viele Dinge jetzt im Buch sehe, die ich
vorher nicht gesehen habe - teilweise

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weil ich es mit so vielen verschiedenen
Leuten aus unterschiedlichster Perspektive gelesen habe,

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und dann ihre Perspektive einnehme, und
dadurch sehe ich Dinge, die ich vorher nicht sehen konnte.

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Aber teilweise denke ich auch, dass sich meine
eigenen intellektuellen Interessen erweitert und verschoben haben

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und dadurch

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verändert sich

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gewissermassen mein Denken über "Das Kapital"
und die Art wie ich darüber referriere. Was sehr stark

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von den Umständen abhängt,
mit denen ich es heute zu tun habe.

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[Music]
[Musik]

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Ich bin wirklich gespannt, wie viele von Ihnen

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diese ersten zwei Kapitel tatsächlich gelesen haben?

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Wow, Wer nicht?

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Machen Sie das nicht wieder.

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Letzes Mal habe ich unter anderem gesagt,

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das es eine gute Idee ist, sich bei

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jedem einzelnen Abschnitt

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zu fragen, was der Hauptgedanke ist,
denn dadurch können Sie nachvollziehen,

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worum es geht.

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Und letzes Mal sprachen wir über

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den ersten Abschnitt

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des ersten Kapitels

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und ich habe Ihnen vorgeschlagen, dass man
ihn in eine sehr einfache

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Struktur zerlegen kann

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die folgendermaßen aussieht.

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Marx fängt mit der Ware an

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das ist die Grundlage

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seiner Untersuchung der
kapitalistischen Produktionsweise

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was sofort unterstellt,

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dass die Ware einen doppelten Charakter hat:
sie hat einen Gebrauchswert

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und einen Tauschwert

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Das Geheimnis des Tauschwerts war,
dass die sehr unterschiedlichen Gebrauchswerte

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auf die eine oder andere Weise übersetzt werden

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in vergleichbare, messbare Größen.

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Deshalb

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Marx' Argument is, das es etwas geben muss,
das hinter dem

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Tauschwert steckt und die Vergleichbarkeit erklärt.

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Und was dahinter steckt,
stellt er sich als den Wert vor.

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und er definiert ihn als

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gesellschaflich notwendige Arbeitszeit.

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Um gesellschaflich notwendig zu sein,

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muss die an einem Gegenstand verausgabte Arbeit,
wiederum ein Gebrauchswert für jemand anderen darstellen.

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Marx schließt also zurück zum

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Gebrauchswert und dadurch können Sie den Wert

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als ein Zusammenkommen von Gebrauchswert und
Tauschwert im Begriff der gesellschaftlich notwendigen Arbeitszeit sehen.

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Now if you ask yourself this
question of what is the structure of the
Wenn Sie sich nun fragen, was die Struktur der

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next two sections,
nächsten zwei Abschnitte ausmacht,

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they go something like this:
dort geht es daru:

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He concentrates on
Er konzentriert sich auf

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labor time.
Arbeitszeit

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He's already
Er hat schon

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distinguished between
unterschieden zwischen

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the tremendous variety of labor
times that might be actually spent
den unterschiedlichsten Arbeitszeiten
in der tatsächlich gearbeitet wird,

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and something which he calls abstract labor.
und etwas, dass er abstrakte Arbeit nennt.

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So here he takes a concept which was just simply
Hier erläutert er ein Konzept, dass er vorher,

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referred to in the first section
im erten Abschnitt, nur erwähnt hat

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and splits it out and says, well,
socially necessary labor time
und differenziert und sagt, nun,
gesellschaflich notwendige Arbeitszeit

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has two aspects:
hat zwei Aspekte:

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concrete labor
konkrete Arbeit

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and abstract labor,
und abstrakte Arbeit,

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and he talks about the
difference between the two
und er spricht über den
Unterschied zwischen beiden.

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But in the end there's only one labor process, it's
not as if one labor process is doing the concrete
Abet am Ende gibt es nur einen Arbeitsprozess, es
ist nicht so, das der eine Prozess die konkrete

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and one's doing the abstract.
und einer die abstrakte Arbeit verichtet.

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No, there's one labor process
and it has this dual character.
Nein, da gibt es nur einen Arbeitsprozess
und er hat einen doppelten Charakter

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It is both concrete, and it is abstract.
Er ist beides, konkret und abstrakt.

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The question is how do you find out
Die Frage ist, wie finden sie heraus,

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what the abstract value is in
the commodities which you've produced?
was der abstrakte Wert in den Waren ist,
den Sie produziert haben?

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And the answer to that can
only be found at the moment when
Und die Antwort darauf kann nur in
dem Augenblick erkannt werden, in dem

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abstract and concrete labor come
together at the moment of exchange.
die abstrakte und die konkret Arbeit
zusammen auftreten, im Moment des Tausches.

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So we're now going to look at exchange and
the way in which exchange generates a way
Wir werden uns also jetzt den Tausch ansehen
und wie dieser Tausche einen

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of expressing value,
Wert ausdrückt,

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representing value, because
we know that value is a social relation,
einen Wert representiert, denn
wir wissen das der Wert eine gesellschaftliche Beziehung ist

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therefore it's immaterial.
und dadurch immateriell ist.

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So what we got out of exchange,
coming out of exchange, is
Wenn wir also etwas ausgetauscht haben,
haben wir im Ergebniss wieder

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a duality again.
den Doppelcharakter

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Relative and equivalent forms of value.
Relative und äquivalente Formen des Wertes

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And these relative and equivalent forms of
value eventually coalesce at the end of this
Und diese relativen und äquivalenten Formen des
Wertes verschmelzen schließlich am Ende

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long, and in my opinion and somewhat turgid,
third section
dieses langen und meiner Meinung nach etwas
umständlich geschriebenen dritten Abschnitts

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into the idea
that there is
mit der Idee, dass sich der Wert

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a way in which
value gets expressed.
in einer bestimmten Weise äusserst.

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And it gets expressed
Und er äussert sich

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in the form of a money commodity.
in Form einer Geldware.

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You want to take this further into the next
section, the money commodity conceals something,
Den Gedanken werden sie im nächsten Abschnitt
weiterverfolgen, denn das Geld verdeckt etwas,

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it conceals the social relations.
es verdeckt die gesellschaftlichen Verhältnisse.

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So the next section is about
Der nächste Abschnitt handelt also

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the way in which
davon, dass es

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there are social relations
between things, and material
gesellschaftlichen Verhältnisse
zwischen den Dingen gibt und materielle

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relations between people.
Verhältnisse zwischen den Menschen.

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Now you can see a certain pattern
Sie können nun ein gewisses Muster

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emerging here in the nature of the argument.
in der Argumentation erkennen.

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There is an unfolding going on.
Hier entfaltet sich etwas.

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There is an expansion of the argument going on.
Hier wird die Argumentation erweitert.

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And actually if you look at the logical structure
Wenn sie nun die logische Struktur ansehen

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of the argument in Capital you see
it is in continuous expansion of this kind.
mit dem im "Das Kapital" argumentiert wird,
sehen Sie wie sich die Argumentation ausweitet

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Now the classic way of thinking of
the Hegelian logic is of course
Die klassische Denkart der hegellschen
Logik ist natürlich

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thesis-antithesis-synthesis.
These —> Antithese —> Synthese

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But these are not synthetic points.
Aber hier gibt es keine Synthesen

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These are points which internalize a tension,
Diese Punkte internalisieren eine Spannung,

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a contradiction
einen Gegensatz,
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that needs to be
der weiter
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further expanded and looked at.
betrachtet werden muss.
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In this section, the first section,
In diesem Abschnitt, dem ersten Abschnitt,
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we have the argument that there is a distinction
between abstract and concrete labor, but now
vertreen wir das Argument, dass es eine Unterscheidung
zwischen abstrakter und konkreter Arbeit gibt; aber nun
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we expand it.
erweitern wir dieses Argument.
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And out of that comes an
understanding of how
Dadurch können wir verstehen, wie
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exchange processes produce
a representation of value

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in the money commodity,

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the money form,

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the universal equivalent,
as he puts it.

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So you see
how this process

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of representation unfolds in Capital.

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But of course at each point

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in this he's going to make
many other observations.

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This, if you like, is the sort of

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skeletal structure of the argument.
But as he built his argument he builds in

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extra elements.

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And as those extra elements are built in,

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so what we see
is a gradual

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expansion not only in the terms of
this kind of linear way that it sort of expands

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in this way as well. It goes from

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a very narrow conception of the commodity
to a broader and broader and broader conception

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as he works through
these different elements.

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So let's look
very concretely then at

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this section two.

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He starts off
on page hundred and thirty-two

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where he makes the very modest claim
that "I was the first

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to point out and examine critically this twofold
nature of the labor contained in commodities.

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As this point is crucial to an understanding
of political economy, it requires further elucidation."

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This is a polite way of saying:

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to the degree that classical political
economy never made this distinction,

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they got their political economy all wrong,

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and I'm going to get it right
because this distinction is fundamental.

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Now the first part looks at concrete labor

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and in much the same way that he's
looking at the heterogeneity of use-values,

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he's looking at the immense heterogeneities of

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concrete labor processes,

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producing different items-
shirts and shoes and apples and pears

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and all the rest of it,

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different skills involved

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different techniques involved,
different raw materials involved,

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and, therefore, the labor process
is itself heterogeneous.

0:11:28.670,0:11:31.660
It is not simply that you're
producing heterogeneous products

0:11:31.660,0:11:36.570
you're also
witnessing a heterogeneity of labor processes,

0:11:36.570,0:11:38.650
spinning and weaving,

0:11:38.650,0:11:44.210
shoe making and bread baking and
all the rest of it, call for different skills that

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the heterogeneity of it is simply stunning.

0:11:47.760,0:11:51.110
So he goes over that heterogeneity.

0:11:51.110,0:11:52.990
In the process however

0:11:52.990,0:11:57.030
he makes one move
to broaden the argument.

0:11:57.030,0:12:01.160
And that move is, I think, of singular importance

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and this move occurs at the bottom
of page hundred and thirty-three,

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well about halfway down, he says:

0:12:10.520,0:12:15.770
"Labor, then, as the creator of
use-values as useful labor

0:12:15.770,0:12:19.510
is a condition of human existence

0:12:19.510,0:12:24.170
which is independent of all forms of society."

0:12:24.170,0:12:25.059
Now, usually you don't

0:12:25.059,0:12:29.499
find Marx saying that in Capital, because he's
interested only in how things work under

0:12:29.499,0:12:31.420
capitalism. But here he is saying

0:12:31.420,0:12:37.190
use-values have to be produced no matter
what kind of society you're in.

0:12:37.190,0:12:41.610
He says "it is an eternal natural necessity

0:12:41.610,0:12:48.240
which mediates the metabolism between man
and nature and, therefore, human life itself."

0:12:48.240,0:12:50.680
What we're doing here

0:12:50.680,0:12:53.780
is at this point,
we're introducing

0:12:53.780,0:12:58.780
the whole idea of a metabolic relation to nature

0:12:58.780,0:13:03.630
as being something
which has to be integrated into the argument,

0:13:03.630,0:13:07.490
integrated into the analysis.

0:13:07.490,0:13:13.340
He doesn't pay that much
attention to this in Capital, but

0:13:13.340,0:13:16.770
the point of him making
this statement here is to say:

0:13:16.770,0:13:19.220
there's no way which you can examine

0:13:19.220,0:13:22.179
this whole process without
actually looking at this

0:13:22.179,0:13:25.230
metabolic relation to nature.

0:13:25.230,0:13:29.060
And he goes on to explain a little bit,
"the physical bodies of commodities

0:13:29.060,0:13:33.070
are combinations of two elements:
the material provided by nature

0:13:33.070,0:13:34.910
and labor.

0:13:34.910,0:13:38.430
If we subtract the total amount of useful
labor of different kinds which is contained

0:13:38.430,0:13:44.280
in the coat,
linen etc, a material substratum is always left.

0:13:44.280,0:13:49.550
This substratum is furnished by
nature without human intervention.

0:13:49.550,0:13:52.620
When man engages in production
he can only proceed

0:13:52.620,0:13:54.880
as nature does herself."

0:13:54.880,0:13:59.250
That is you have to proceed
in accordance with natural law.

0:13:59.250,0:14:03.260
You "(…)can only change the form
of materials. Furthermore,

0:14:03.260,0:14:08.450
even in this work of modification he
is constantly helped by natural forces.

0:14:08.450,0:14:13.980
Labor is therefore not the only source of
material wealth, i.e. of use-values(…).

0:14:13.980,0:14:18.140
As William Petty says, labor is the
father of material wealth,

0:14:18.140,0:14:20.820
the earth is its mother."

0:14:20.820,0:14:24.530
That gendered metaphor is very
common of course from

0:14:24.530,0:14:29.190
seventeenth-century onwards,
and so Marx is simply repeating

0:14:29.190,0:14:35.790
something that had been there from
the Enlightenment onwards.

0:14:35.790,0:14:37.730
But, notice something here:

0:14:37.730,0:14:43.690
material wealth
is not the same as value.

0:14:43.690,0:14:45.240
Material wealth,

0:14:45.240,0:14:50.280
it's going to be the total quantity of
use-values available to you.

0:14:50.280,0:14:53.970
The value of those use-values

0:14:53.970,0:14:56.510
can vary in all sorts of ways.

0:14:56.510,0:14:59.580
You can have a lot of use-values

0:14:59.580,0:15:03.430
and very little value because
there's very little labor input,

0:15:03.430,0:15:04.710
or you can have

0:15:04.710,0:15:09.360
very few use-values and a lot of labor input,
so the relationship between wealth

0:15:09.360,0:15:13.510
and value is not one-on-one at all.

0:15:13.510,0:15:15.580
So, Marx's conception of wealth

0:15:15.580,0:15:19.910
is about the material assemblage

0:15:19.910,0:15:26.620
of use-values which are available to us.

0:15:26.620,0:15:32.930
He then goes on
to make some comments.

0:15:32.930,0:15:39.620
This heterogeneous labor contains
a bit of a conundrum.

0:15:39.620,0:15:44.180
Different skills,
different capacities for productivity

0:15:44.180,0:15:47.900
of different laborers,

0:15:47.900,0:15:53.720
and we have to look at that
which he does over the next two pages.

0:15:53.720,0:16:00.360
And he says in order to
really advance his analysis,

0:16:00.360,0:16:08.070
what he has to do is to
create a simple standard of value.

0:16:08.070,0:16:12.690
And this standard is going to be called,
as he says on hundred and thirty-five,

0:16:12.690,0:16:16.410
"simple average labor".

0:16:16.410,0:16:18.750
Now simple average labor,

0:16:18.750,0:16:23.010
is not constant, he points out: "(…)it is true
it varies in character in different countries

0:16:23.010,0:16:24.820
and at different cultural epochs,

0:16:24.820,0:16:28.350
but in a particular society it is given."

0:16:28.350,0:16:31.410
This is a move that Marx will often make.

0:16:31.410,0:16:35.370
For purposes of analysis I'm going to assume
it's given, even though I know it varies

0:16:35.370,0:16:36.970
all over the place.

0:16:36.970,0:16:40.540
But for purposes of analysis
I'm going to assume there's something there

0:16:40.540,0:16:42.970
called simple average labor,

0:16:42.970,0:16:48.670
which is what the abstraction of value is about.

0:16:48.670,0:16:53.530
Furthermore, what I do is I
take the issue of skills

0:16:53.530,0:16:57.260
and complex labor,
and simply say:

0:16:57.260,0:17:03.390
"More complex labor counts only as
intensified, or rather multiplied simple labor,

0:17:03.390,0:17:07.829
so that a smaller quantity of complex labor
is considered equal to a larger quantity

0:17:07.829,0:17:10.440
of simple labor."

0:17:10.440,0:17:16.630
He then adds: "Experience shows
that this reduction is constantly being made."

0:17:16.630,0:17:20.330
He doesn't tell us what experience it is
that shows us this.

0:17:20.330,0:17:26.760
This is actually a rather problematic argument
and it goes under the title of

0:17:26.760,0:17:34.090
'the reduction of skill to simple labor problem'
in a lot of marxian theorizing.

0:17:34.090,0:17:38.309
And it poses certain difficulties for the way in
which certain people have used Marx's

0:17:38.309,0:17:40.750
value theory. I want to signal

0:17:40.750,0:17:44.090
the fact that this passage conceals

0:17:44.090,0:17:46.370
something which is a bit problematic

0:17:46.370,0:17:49.610
and which is being a matter of some controversy

0:17:49.610,0:17:54.289
in the field of Marxian studies.

0:17:54.289,0:17:57.850
What i'm going to do, therefore, is to

0:17:57.850,0:17:59.630
ask the question

0:17:59.630,0:18:03.370
which we have, I think, have to ask
of this. What experience is it

0:18:03.370,0:18:05.530
that shows this reduction

0:18:05.530,0:18:11.100
is being made?, and how is that reduction
being made?

0:18:11.100,0:18:15.309
And we will come across
some examples where we will find

0:18:15.309,0:18:20.040
that argument laid out.

0:18:20.040,0:18:24.400
So on the bottom of that paragraph he says:
"In the Interests of simplification, we shall henceforth

0:18:24.400,0:18:29.930
view every form of labor power
directly as simple labor power;

0:18:29.930,0:18:32.490
by this wish shall simply be saving ourselves

0:18:32.490,0:18:37.810
the trouble of making the reduction."

0:18:37.810,0:18:40.100
As I've indicated, this is

0:18:40.100,0:18:44.480
a strategy that Marx sometimes uses.
He hits a complication,

0:18:44.480,0:18:49.490
says: okay I recognize the complication,
I going to simplify it away,

0:18:49.490,0:18:52.930
and for purposes of argument go on as if

0:18:52.930,0:18:56.450
this datum of simple average labor is adequate

0:18:56.450,0:19:03.450
to my argument.

0:19:03.910,0:19:09.400
On page hundred and thirty-six/
hundred and thirty-seven

0:19:09.400,0:19:12.900
he starts to
talk more about the

0:19:12.900,0:19:15.280
abstract qualities of labor.

0:19:15.280,0:19:19.380
He shifts from
the examination of the concrete,

0:19:19.380,0:19:22.830
both looking at the relation to
nature and the problem of skills,

0:19:22.830,0:19:25.820
and goes to look more concretely,

0:19:25.820,0:19:31.010
if I can put it that way, at the abstract side
of this argument.

0:19:31.010,0:19:37.350
And of course in the abstract side
we´re dealing with a quantitative relation.

0:19:37.350,0:19:42.710
And he has to say certain things about
the temporal duration of labor,

0:19:42.710,0:19:46.730
how the temporal duration of labor works.

0:19:46.730,0:19:51.520
And the first thing he notices
on the top of hundred and thirty-seven

0:19:51.520,0:19:57.360
is that, right at the bottom hundred thirty six,
is that "(…)an increase in the amount of material

0:19:57.360,0:20:05.640
wealth may correspond to a simultaneous
fall in the magnitude of its value."

0:20:07.210,0:20:11.250
Value is dependent upon human productivity.

0:20:11.250,0:20:15.549
Highly productive people can
produce a large amount of material wealth

0:20:15.549,0:20:17.410
very quickly.

0:20:17.410,0:20:20.590
And they can work less hours,
so actually the amount of

0:20:20.590,0:20:24.090
value that they make can be very low but
the amount of material wealth they generate can

0:20:24.090,0:20:25.760
be enormous.

0:20:25.760,0:20:30.860
So again, he's going to emphasize
that distinction between material wealth

0:20:30.860,0:20:34.200
and value.

0:20:34.200,0:20:39.780
And he goes on to point out
that while changes in productivity

0:20:39.780,0:20:45.070
affect material wealth, they
don't necessarily have any effect at all

0:20:45.070,0:20:47.780
on value creation.

0:20:47.780,0:20:51.080
We will see instances
where this is the case but,

0:20:51.080,0:20:55.140
nevertheless, the change in productivity

0:20:55.140,0:21:04.000
is itself not directly connected
to transformations in value.

0:21:04.000,0:21:08.540
That leads into the bottom of
hundred thirty-seven, to a definition:

0:21:08.540,0:21:13.929
"…all labor is an expenditure of
human labor-power, in the physiological sense,

0:21:13.929,0:21:18.140
and it is in this quality of being equal, or
abstract, human labor that it forms the value

0:21:18.140,0:21:20.210
of commodities.

0:21:20.210,0:21:23.990
On the other hand all labor is an
expenditure of human labor-power in a particular form

0:21:23.990,0:21:25.570
and with a definite aim,

0:21:25.570,0:21:32.570
and it is in this quality of being
concrete useful labor that it reproduces use-values."

0:21:33.860,0:21:39.740
Just simply means that
if it takes so many hours of

0:21:39.740,0:21:43.660
simple labor to produce a coat,

0:21:43.660,0:21:45.110
and you produce ten coats,

0:21:45.110,0:21:47.280
the amount of value is ten.

0:21:47.280,0:21:52.290
If you produce fifteen coats it's fifteen.

0:21:52.290,0:21:53.629
»STUDENT: But the value per coat remains the same.
»HARVEY: The value per coat remains the same.

0:21:53.629,0:21:57.419
He then goes on to talk about what
happens when the value per coat goes down

0:21:57.419,0:22:04.419
which is why the changing
productivity then comes in.

0:22:05.310,0:22:08.800
Section three: the value form,

0:22:08.800,0:22:11.630
or exchange-value.

0:22:11.630,0:22:17.900
Again, what we see is

0:22:17.900,0:22:21.220
an opening argument which

0:22:21.220,0:22:28.220
specifies the nature of a problem.

0:22:29.240,0:22:36.240
And he begins with this discussion
about the objectivity of commodities

0:22:36.920,0:22:41.669
and the fact that, even though
they have objective qualities,

0:22:41.669,0:22:45.500
nevertheless, he says about the
middle of page hundred and thirty-eight,

0:22:45.500,0:22:47.259
"Not an atom of matter

0:22:47.259,0:22:52.090
enters into the objectivity
of commodities as values;

0:22:52.090,0:22:56.940
in this it is the direct opposite
to the costly sensuous objectivity of commodities

0:22:56.940,0:23:02.100
as physical objects."

0:23:02.100,0:23:06.990
He then goes on to say: "(…)let us remember that
commodities possess an objective character as values only

0:23:06.990,0:23:11.330
insofar as they are
expressions of

0:23:11.330,0:23:14.840
an identical social substance, human labor,

0:23:14.840,0:23:22.340
that their objective character
as values is therefore purely social.

0:23:22.340,0:23:25.370
From this it follows," he says,

0:23:25.370,0:23:32.370
"that it can only appear in the
social relation between commodity and commodity."

0:23:33.690,0:23:36.430
Now, this is a little bit strange,

0:23:36.430,0:23:40.070
in the sense that Marx is saying

0:23:40.070,0:23:43.500
that the value of a commodity is immaterial.

0:23:43.500,0:23:48.950
Not an atom of matter enters
into the value of a commodity.

0:23:48.950,0:23:51.370
Marx's foundational concept- value

0:23:51.370,0:23:53.670
is immaterial,

0:23:53.670,0:23:58.320
but objective.

0:23:58.320,0:24:02.570
This doesn't fit very well with the image
of Marx, right, as someone who kind of is a

0:24:02.570,0:24:06.440
grubby materialist for who everything has to
be sort of fixed and material and if it's not material

0:24:06.440,0:24:07.169
then it's nothing.

0:24:07.169,0:24:09.870
Here is his fundamental concept of value

0:24:09.870,0:24:12.240
which is immaterial but objective.

0:24:12.240,0:24:16.890
And it's immaterial because it's a social relation.

0:24:16.890,0:24:20.350
Can you see social relations?

0:24:20.350,0:24:27.350
Can you actually have iotas or atoms
or molecules of social relationships?

0:24:27.880,0:24:29.750
You can't trace them that way,

0:24:29.750,0:24:35.660
yet we know that social relationships are objective.

0:24:35.660,0:24:39.240
There's a social relationship between you and I

0:24:39.240,0:24:42.480
and you could look at what's going on in the
room and say: okay there's a social relationship

0:24:42.480,0:24:44.880
between teacher and taught.

0:24:44.880,0:24:48.950
And you can talk about it and it has objective
consequences in the grade you get and all that

0:24:48.950,0:24:51.080
sort of stuff, but

0:24:51.080,0:24:55.220
you can't actually measure it in terms of atoms,
and movement and you can't actually find the molecules

0:24:55.220,0:24:56.950
floating through the air, you know,

0:24:56.950,0:25:00.320
from my brain into your
brain or from wherever you know.

0:25:00.320,0:25:01.809
It's not like that.

0:25:01.809,0:25:04.950
It's immaterial but objective.

0:25:04.950,0:25:10.500
So Marx is saying: value is immaterial and objective
like that, it's a social relation which becomes

0:25:10.500,0:25:16.130
objectified in the commodity.

0:25:16.130,0:25:18.400
And that process of objectification

0:25:18.400,0:25:21.570
is of course also an
objectification of a process

0:25:21.570,0:25:23.360
in a thing

0:25:23.360,0:25:27.630
because the process is
socially necessary labor time.

0:25:27.630,0:25:31.750
So the process is objectified in the thing.

0:25:31.750,0:25:35.400
How it is objectified in the thing

0:25:35.400,0:25:39.990
is a matter of
some considerable interest.

0:25:39.990,0:25:43.960
And furthermore: how the commodity expresses

0:25:43.960,0:25:47.970
that value relation
objectively, as a thing.

0:25:47.970,0:25:49.970
And Marx's answer to that is:

0:25:49.970,0:25:52.350
you cannot go to a commodity

0:25:52.350,0:25:55.060
this table

0:25:55.060,0:25:59.940
and dissect it and get the chemical composition
and everything else, you can't go to this table

0:25:59.940,0:26:04.110
and find out what its value is
internal to the table.

0:26:04.110,0:26:08.559
You only find out what the value of this table
is, when it is put in an exchange relation with

0:26:08.559,0:26:11.299
something else.

0:26:11.299,0:26:15.030
Later on he will actually
use the notion of gravity

0:26:15.030,0:26:17.870
as a similar example.

0:26:17.870,0:26:23.140
it's very difficult,
impossible in fact, to take a stone

0:26:23.140,0:26:27.160
and dissect it and find gravity inside of it.

0:26:27.160,0:26:30.830
You can only find gravity when you put the
stone in relationship to another stone, it's

0:26:30.830,0:26:34.590
only a relationship between bodies.

0:26:34.590,0:26:39.840
So it's immaterial but objective.

0:26:39.840,0:26:43.900
So this is Marx's fundamental
concept and it's very important that you

0:26:43.900,0:26:48.330
you recognize this at the outset.

0:26:48.330,0:26:51.640
So when somebody comes along and says: well,
Marx is just one of those boring materialists who doesn't

0:26:51.640,0:26:54.180
have any…well, how come?

0:26:54.180,0:26:57.530
His foundational concept
is immaterial but objective

0:26:57.530,0:26:59.910
and what is this about.

0:26:59.910,0:27:02.049
And the immateriality is of course

0:27:02.049,0:27:06.110
socially necessary labor time.

0:27:06.110,0:27:09.830
But in order to figure out what socially
necessary labor time is you've got to have a

0:27:09.830,0:27:13.220
form of appearance.

0:27:13.220,0:27:18.360
So, on hundred and thirty-nine,
again he makes the modest claim:

0:27:18.360,0:27:23.890
"Now, however, we have to perform a
task never even attempted by bourgeois economics.

0:27:23.890,0:27:27.500
That is, we have to show the origin of this
money-form, we have to trace the development

0:27:27.500,0:27:31.160
of the expression of value
contained in the value relation of commodities

0:27:31.160,0:27:33.830
from its simplest almost imperceptible outline

0:27:33.830,0:27:36.120
to the dazzling money-form.

0:27:36.120,0:27:43.120
When this has been done, the
mystery of money will immediately disappear."

0:27:44.340,0:27:48.590
What then follows is, I think,

0:27:48.590,0:27:53.210
a very boring exegesis of how this works.

0:27:53.210,0:27:58.130
And we can simply go over
the general line of argument in order to

0:27:58.130,0:28:02.049
actually look at
some very important, again,

0:28:02.049,0:28:06.400
seeming sidebars like the relation to nature
which actually now going to become integrated

0:28:06.400,0:28:07.920
into the argument.

0:28:07.920,0:28:09.850
The argument goes like this:

0:28:09.850,0:28:12.580
I have a commodity,

0:28:12.580,0:28:16.470
I don't know what its abstract value is.

0:28:16.470,0:28:21.080
I'm desperate to know and
have a measure of the abstract value

0:28:21.080,0:28:22.460
in my commodity.

0:28:22.460,0:28:25.020
You have a commodity.

0:28:25.020,0:28:26.919
So I say: Okay,

0:28:26.919,0:28:29.320
I'm going to measure the value,

0:28:29.320,0:28:33.580
abstract value of my commodity in terms of
your commodity. You have the equivalent form,

0:28:33.580,0:28:37.539
I have the relative form.

0:28:37.539,0:28:40.110
If we were in a barter situation

0:28:40.110,0:28:44.190
you would have the relative
form, relative to my equivalent.

0:28:44.190,0:28:48.570
There are as many equivalents as there
are commodities, and as many relatives as

0:28:48.570,0:28:52.470
there are commodities as well.

0:28:52.470,0:28:54.109
So this is the simple version

0:28:54.109,0:28:55.130
that kind of says:

0:28:55.130,0:28:57.660
I only find out

0:28:57.660,0:29:01.300
what this table is worth when
it's exchanged with something else,

0:29:01.300,0:29:05.440
and therefore it is your labor
input which is going to be the measure

0:29:05.440,0:29:08.270
of abstract labor in mine.

0:29:08.270,0:29:12.780
He then expands it and he says:
Well, what happens when, for example,

0:29:12.780,0:29:16.100
I have shoes and you don't
want shoes, but on the other hand

0:29:16.100,0:29:21.720
I want the shirt you have. So I trade my shoes
for your shirt, and then you take the shoes that you've traded

0:29:21.720,0:29:25.400
and trade them on, in
other words, you can imagine

0:29:25.400,0:29:28.340
something going on and on
and on and on…like that.

0:29:28.340,0:29:31.200
or you could also imagine
somebody sitting there with

0:29:31.200,0:29:34.230
cans of tuna and they're
the only person who've got cans of tuna.

0:29:34.230,0:29:38.130
And everybody wants to trade with cans of
tuna, so suddenly cans of tuna turn out to

0:29:38.130,0:29:41.060
be very significant and therefore

0:29:41.060,0:29:44.080
multiple commodities are
exchanging with the same thing.

0:29:44.080,0:29:46.470
So Marx goes through these various

0:29:46.470,0:29:47.820
forms of this

0:29:47.820,0:29:51.730
and at the end of the day
we start to see crystallizing out

0:29:51.730,0:29:55.380
the idea that there is one commodity,

0:29:55.380,0:29:59.040
or a particular bundle of
commodities which start, actually,

0:29:59.040,0:30:01.390
to be a stand-in

0:30:01.390,0:30:04.850
for the equivalent.

0:30:04.850,0:30:08.610
And out of that we see
crystallizing the universal equivalent.

0:30:08.610,0:30:12.330
One commodity becomes

0:30:12.330,0:30:16.230
the central equivalent for all exchanges,

0:30:16.230,0:30:17.840
and that one commodity

0:30:17.840,0:30:20.820
we call the money commodity
and the most obvious

0:30:20.820,0:30:23.950
one to look at would be gold.

0:30:23.950,0:30:28.350
So one commodity crystallizes out.

0:30:28.350,0:30:31.670
There are a number of points which have to
be made about this and Marx is going to make

0:30:31.670,0:30:34.130
this point several times.

0:30:34.130,0:30:38.390
In order for this to happen,

0:30:38.390,0:30:40.720
exchange has to become generalized,

0:30:40.720,0:30:46.590
it has to become, what he
calls, a 'normal social act'.

0:30:46.590,0:30:49.490
It can't be just an occasional exchange,

0:30:49.490,0:30:53.420
it has to be generalized
and it has to be systematic.

0:30:53.420,0:30:56.150
If it's not generalized or systematic then

0:30:56.150,0:30:58.320
it's unlikely that

0:30:58.320,0:31:03.580
gold is going to emerge as the universal equivalent.

0:31:03.580,0:31:05.830
But what you can see him doing here

0:31:05.830,0:31:08.210
is very different from the argument

0:31:08.210,0:31:11.940
of classical political economy.
He's saying that the money form

0:31:11.940,0:31:15.990
arises out off the exchange relation.

0:31:15.990,0:31:18.700
It's not superimposed from outside.

0:31:18.700,0:31:23.110
It's not that somebody had
a good idea and said: oh let us have money.

0:31:23.110,0:31:24.200
Nothing of that kind,

0:31:24.200,0:31:28.080
no, it arises, in Marx's view, out of

0:31:28.080,0:31:31.430
simple acts of exchange which gradually expand

0:31:31.430,0:31:34.190
to the point where they become generalized

0:31:34.190,0:31:37.390
for the whole of society.

0:31:37.390,0:31:39.700
Now, there's an interesting question here:

0:31:39.700,0:31:45.510
Is this a historical argument or a logical argument?

0:31:45.510,0:31:49.360
Actually we're often going to find that
arising in Capital, and it's something you

0:31:49.360,0:31:54.510
should think about.

0:31:54.510,0:31:59.010
In the nineteenth century there was a tendency sometimes
to interpret Marx as making a historical argument

0:31:59.010,0:32:03.399
as well as a logical argument.

0:32:03.399,0:32:07.409
I think most people who
are familiar with

0:32:07.409,0:32:11.700
works in archaeology and anthropology and
history and all the rest of it would now kind of say

0:32:11.700,0:32:16.960
you can't really treat this as a historical argument.

0:32:16.960,0:32:19.170
There are too many

0:32:19.170,0:32:24.360
symbolic systems like coins and so on, floating
around, of various kinds, historically and archeologically,

0:32:24.360,0:32:26.240
and all the rest of it,

0:32:26.240,0:32:32.080
in the absence of kind of clear
exchange relations of this sort.

0:32:32.080,0:32:37.040
So, it's probably best not to
treat this as a historical argument.

0:32:37.040,0:32:40.490
But what it does do,
and I think

0:32:40.490,0:32:43.220
this is the way to look at it is:

0:32:43.220,0:32:46.830
It actually constructs a logical argument

0:32:46.830,0:32:52.010
about the relationship between
the money form and commodity exchange

0:32:52.010,0:32:55.960
and what that would
say historically would be this:

0:32:55.960,0:32:59.140
that while there may have been all kinds of different

0:32:59.140,0:33:02.230
systems, that you might call monetary systems

0:33:02.230,0:33:04.870
floating around,
exchange of

0:33:04.870,0:33:09.110
cowry shells or
stories or whatever,

0:33:09.110,0:33:11.950
while there may have been
all kinds of systems of that kind

0:33:11.950,0:33:15.400
floating around
to the degree that

0:33:15.400,0:33:22.350
capitalist commodity exchange becomes
generalized so it disciplines all of those forms

0:33:22.350,0:33:24.290
to this singular relationship between

0:33:24.290,0:33:26.600
the money form

0:33:26.600,0:33:32.240
and the commodity form.

0:33:32.240,0:33:37.750
So in that sense you could kind
of say: the logic of capitalism,

0:33:37.750,0:33:41.410
and a capitalist system, would say that, as

0:33:41.410,0:33:46.030
exchange proliferates
and becomes a normal social act,

0:33:46.030,0:33:50.070
what this means is that

0:33:50.070,0:33:54.760
money and commodities will move into
this kind of relation,

0:33:54.760,0:33:57.440
no matter what the original

0:33:57.440,0:34:04.160
foundation of the monetary form
may have been.

0:34:04.160,0:34:09.240
But then there are some very
specifics about this argument.

0:34:09.240,0:34:15.309
And I want to
just pay attention to

0:34:15.309,0:34:19.699
occasional bits of language
which I think are significant.

0:34:19.699,0:34:26.699
On hundred and forty-two for example,

0:34:30.999,0:34:32.249
in the middle there,

0:34:32.249,0:34:35.999
he's talking about human labor in general,
however he goes on to say: "(…)it is not enough

0:34:35.999,0:34:41.149
to express the specific character of the labor
which goes to make up the value of the linen.

0:34:41.149,0:34:44.259
Human labor-power in its fluid state(…)"

0:34:44.259,0:34:48.819
Now, I've often and will often

0:34:48.819,0:34:54.119
draw your attention to the way in which Marx
concentrates on the fluidity of things.

0:34:54.119,0:35:00.349
"(…)human labor-power in its fluid state,
or human labor, creates value, but is not itself value.

0:35:00.349,0:35:07.349
It becomes value in its coagulated state,
in objective form", through objectification.

0:35:07.400,0:35:14.400
So again, there's this process-thing relationship.

0:35:15.579,0:35:17.669
And that is always kind of lurking

0:35:17.669,0:35:19.870
and you'll always find passages where Marx

0:35:19.870,0:35:24.189
will be re-emphasizing that.

0:35:24.189,0:35:27.369
But then there's something odd about

0:35:27.369,0:35:32.980
the way in which
these

0:35:32.980,0:35:37.660
relative and equivalent
forms of value work together.

0:35:37.660,0:35:44.660
And he identifies three peculiarities: the first
is identified on page hundred and forty-eight:

0:35:46.289,0:35:47.930
"The first peculiarity which

0:35:47.930,0:35:52.380
strikes us when we reflect
on the equivalent form is this:

0:35:52.380,0:35:59.380
that use-value becomes the
form of appearance of its opposite, value."

0:35:59.519,0:36:05.259
That relation is entailed in the very
beginning of this argument.

0:36:05.259,0:36:08.519
It's the use-value you
have which is the equivalent of

0:36:08.519,0:36:11.900
my relative.

0:36:11.900,0:36:16.069
And it's that use-value, it's
not the generality, it's just that use-value,

0:36:16.069,0:36:19.140
and we can never going to escape from that

0:36:19.140,0:36:20.169
contradiction.

0:36:20.169,0:36:22.519
That a specific use-value,

0:36:22.519,0:36:27.729
in the end of the day it's going to be gold,

0:36:27.729,0:36:34.729
becomes a form of
appearance of its opposite, value.

0:36:35.139,0:36:39.859
The result of that,
on hundred and forty-nine.

0:36:39.859,0:36:43.049
is he starts to talk about the way in which

0:36:43.049,0:36:51.109
- and this is where you start to get
a precursor of the fetishism argument -,

0:36:51.109,0:36:55.960
he says: "The relative [value-]form of a commodity,
the linen for example, expresses its value existence

0:36:55.960,0:36:59.400
as something wholly different
from its substance and properties,

0:36:59.400,0:37:02.900
as the quality of being
comparable with a coat for example;

0:37:02.900,0:37:05.400
this expression itself therefore indicates

0:37:05.400,0:37:11.509
that it conceals
a social relation."

0:37:11.509,0:37:13.489
Now in the fetishism section we're going to

0:37:13.489,0:37:17.029
be dealing a lot with the
way in which things get concealed.

0:37:17.029,0:37:19.709
But here he is kind of saying: that concealing

0:37:19.709,0:37:23.289
goes on in this logical
relationship which is being built up

0:37:23.289,0:37:25.269
between commodities

0:37:25.269,0:37:29.329
and their monetary expression, and he then
goes on a bit further down that paragraph,

0:37:29.329,0:37:34.749
to say:
"Hence the mysteriousness of the equivalent form,

0:37:34.749,0:37:38.419
which only impinges on the crude bourgeois
vision of the political economist when it

0:37:38.419,0:37:42.749
confronts him in its fully developed shape,
that of money."

0:37:42.749,0:37:46.799
He then goes on to sort of
have a little

0:37:46.799,0:37:53.509
cut at the classical
political economists for their failures.

0:37:53.509,0:37:56.569
So he says on hundred and fifty at the top:

0:37:56.569,0:38:00.759
"The body of the commodity, which serves as
the equivalent, always figures as the embodiment

0:38:00.759,0:38:07.759
of abstract human labor and is always a
product of some specific useful and concrete labor."

0:38:08.269,0:38:12.819
Specific concrete labor
is what makes gold.

0:38:12.819,0:38:17.259
But gold
is supposed to be an expression

0:38:17.259,0:38:21.579
of abstract human labor.

0:38:21.579,0:38:25.519
Second peculiarity at the bottom of that page:

0:38:25.519,0:38:29.259
"The equivalent form therefore
possesses a second peculiarity: in it,

0:38:29.259,0:38:31.309
concrete labor,

0:38:31.309,0:38:37.279
becomes a form of manifestation
of its opposite: abstract human labor."

0:38:37.279,0:38:39.149
Third peculiarity,

0:38:39.149,0:38:43.429
top of hundred and fifty-one:
"(…)the equivalent form has a third peculiarity:

0:38:43.429,0:38:46.849
private labor takes the form of
its opposite, namely labor in its

0:38:46.849,0:38:53.829
directly social form."

0:38:53.829,0:38:59.549
You can see all sorts of
contradictions emerging out of this.

0:38:59.549,0:39:05.430
The expression of value
is a particular commodity,

0:39:05.430,0:39:09.549
a particular use-value
produced under particular concrete

0:39:09.549,0:39:13.209
conditions of labor, which is

0:39:13.209,0:39:18.249
in principle appropriable by any
one individual,

0:39:18.249,0:39:18.729
and

0:39:18.729,0:39:21.880
at the same time, it's meant
to be the general expression

0:39:21.880,0:39:29.670
of the whole world of
commodity production.

0:39:29.670,0:39:33.669
Tension. Just to give you
an example: you don't have to take

0:39:33.669,0:39:37.429
the private appropriation.

0:39:37.429,0:39:42.919
If gold is the money commodity, if gold is the one

0:39:42.919,0:39:47.489
commodity, which is the center of all of this,

0:39:47.489,0:39:51.409
then who are the producers of gold?

0:39:51.409,0:39:55.519
Now there was a very interesting
moment towards the end of the nineteen sixties

0:39:55.519,0:40:00.039
when the two most important
producers of gold in the world market were

0:40:00.039,0:40:06.229
the Soviet Union and South Africa.

0:40:06.229,0:40:11.609
Capitalism was not terribly happy.

0:40:11.609,0:40:14.769
I mean,

0:40:14.769,0:40:20.109
the Soviet Union and South Africa could
actually mess up the whole gold supply system

0:40:20.109,0:40:24.410
by flooding the market or
doing something or other, you know.

0:40:24.410,0:40:25.970
So, in a sense,

0:40:25.970,0:40:30.649
one of the reasons, one of the
many reasons actually, that we went to a

0:40:30.649,0:40:34.969
de-metallic, a non-metallic

0:40:34.969,0:40:40.419
monetary base from the nineteen seventies
onwards had everything to do with the fact

0:40:40.419,0:40:47.419
that the powers that be in Washington and London
and Tokyo and all the rest of it, decided that,

0:40:47.889,0:40:52.259
hey, we can't keep gold as a base or
other reasons why they couldn't keep gold as a base,

0:40:52.259,0:40:53.939
we can't keep gold as a base because

0:40:53.939,0:40:58.189
of the political liability that lies in.
So these contradictions that he's talking about

0:40:58.189,0:41:02.239
here are likely to erupt,

0:41:02.239,0:41:05.959
in very specific ways,

0:41:05.959,0:41:09.689
who controls the money supply, who
controls those use-values, what are the conditions

0:41:09.689,0:41:11.859
of labor?

0:41:11.859,0:41:13.319
What happens

0:41:13.319,0:41:16.489
as happened in eighteen
forty eight when suddenly gold was

0:41:16.489,0:41:19.249
discovered in California,

0:41:19.249,0:41:23.229
and there's a flood of gold into the
world market? What happened when

0:41:23.229,0:41:25.109
the Spaniards went into

0:41:25.109,0:41:28.959
South America and stole all the
gold from the Incas and all the rest of it

0:41:28.959,0:41:32.259
and flooded Europe with gold

0:41:32.259,0:41:37.219
in the sixteenth/seventeenth centuries creating
the grand inflation? You know, in other words,

0:41:37.219,0:41:41.659
the fact that a specific commodity

0:41:41.659,0:41:45.789
has this capacity to be the universal equivalent,

0:41:45.789,0:41:48.779
with all of those particularities about it,

0:41:48.779,0:41:50.719
creates a problem.

0:41:50.719,0:41:54.670
It is as it were a simple relationship
between a particularity at an universal,

0:41:54.670,0:41:56.469
and the particularity

0:41:56.469,0:42:01.829
is standing in as a measure of the universal.

0:42:01.829,0:42:03.949
Tension, contradictions,

0:42:03.949,0:42:07.989
monetary contradictions fly all
over the place later on in the analysis.

0:42:07.989,0:42:09.910
But what he's doing here is laying in

0:42:09.910,0:42:14.429
a little bit of a basis for that.

0:42:14.429,0:42:16.469
Also on hundred and fifty-one

0:42:16.469,0:42:22.329
he points out something else
which is very important about exchange.

0:42:22.329,0:42:26.249
He is very fond of quoting Aristotle.

0:42:26.249,0:42:31.659
And he notices that Aristotle says:

0:42:31.659,0:42:35.309
well, if things exchange

0:42:35.309,0:42:37.739
there must be something equivalent

0:42:37.739,0:42:41.059
in the exchange.

0:42:41.059,0:42:48.059
So, that what Aristotle began to lay out was
the notion that exchange implies equivalence.

0:42:49.799,0:42:54.309
But Aristotle couldn't have
a labor theory of value.

0:42:54.309,0:42:58.299
Why not? Because of slavery.

0:42:58.299,0:43:01.329
No free market in
labor, this kind of stuff.

0:43:01.329,0:43:04.860
So Aristotle saw something very
significant about the nature of exchange

0:43:04.860,0:43:07.320
and about the nature of economies,

0:43:07.320,0:43:11.239
which is the equivalence principle.

0:43:11.239,0:43:14.829
It didn't necessarily mean there's equivalence
between people but there's equivalence somewhere in the system

0:43:14.829,0:43:18.769
that says that is equivalent to that.

0:43:18.769,0:43:20.500
And that equivalence principle

0:43:20.500,0:43:27.500
is something which is going to be very
significant in the way in which markets work.

0:43:28.839,0:43:31.079
So Aristotle,

0:43:31.079,0:43:35.079
on hundred and fifty-one, says: "There can
be no exchange without equality (…) and no equality

0:43:35.079,0:43:40.349
without commensurability."

0:43:40.349,0:43:41.909
This is something

0:43:41.909,0:43:50.819
which is very important for how
markets work.

0:43:53.599,0:43:55.039
Now, what happens

0:43:55.039,0:43:59.889
as this universal equivalent starts to become

0:43:59.889,0:44:04.519
more and more present in the argument is this:

0:44:04.519,0:44:11.519
and he points this out again on
hundred and fifty-three towards the bottom,

0:44:14.009,0:44:20.469
he says: "The internal opposition between
use-value and value, hidden within the commodity,

0:44:20.469,0:44:25.619
is therefore represented on the surface by
an external opposition, i.e. by a relation

0:44:25.619,0:44:29.279
between two commodities
such that the one commodity,

0:44:29.279,0:44:33.499
whose own value is supposed to be expressed,
counts directly only as a use-value, whereas

0:44:33.499,0:44:35.190
the other commodity,

0:44:35.190,0:44:41.799
in which that value is to be expressed,
counts directly only as an exchange-value."

0:44:41.799,0:44:44.689
That is: what we begin to see, is

0:44:44.689,0:44:48.429
the beginnings of an emergence
of something which is going to be

0:44:48.429,0:44:50.779
crucial to the argument.

0:44:50.779,0:44:53.589
An internal opposition

0:44:53.589,0:44:56.179
within the commodity between

0:44:56.179,0:44:59.409
use-value and value

0:44:59.409,0:45:03.679
is eventually going to be expressed
as an external opposition between the world

0:45:03.679,0:45:05.269
of commodities

0:45:05.269,0:45:10.209
and the world of money.

0:45:10.209,0:45:12.519
Those two worlds

0:45:12.519,0:45:15.629
suddenly become separate from each other.

0:45:15.629,0:45:20.879
And as they become separate from each
other they can be antagonistic to each other.

0:45:20.879,0:45:24.910
in other words: you go from
an internal opposition to an external

0:45:24.910,0:45:25.599
opposition,

0:45:25.599,0:45:34.629
with the potentiality
for an antagonism.

0:45:39.619,0:45:45.679
So, the end of the story then is about

0:45:45.679,0:45:50.839
how the expanded form of value

0:45:50.839,0:45:57.499
morphs into an universal equivalent.

0:45:57.499,0:46:01.949
And that therefore, what
this means is that money becomes

0:46:01.949,0:46:04.919
the expression,

0:46:04.919,0:46:09.429
the money commodity becomes the expression
of value.

0:46:09.429,0:46:14.089
He says on hundred and sixty,
he says this, in the middle of the page:

0:46:14.089,0:46:14.879
"Finally,

0:46:14.879,0:46:19.999
a particular kind of commodity
acquires the form of universal equivalent,

0:46:19.999,0:46:24.349
because all other commodities make it the
material embodiment of their uniform and universal

0:46:24.349,0:46:29.059
form of value."

0:46:29.059,0:46:33.699
Then notice the next sentence: "But the antagonism
between the relative form of value and the equivalent

0:46:33.699,0:46:38.169
form, the two poles of the
value-form, also develops concomitantly

0:46:38.169,0:46:45.169
with the development of the value form itself."

0:46:45.679,0:46:48.309
And that takes us into
the final section just on

0:46:48.309,0:46:51.159
the money-form.

0:46:51.159,0:46:52.969
What we've done here

0:46:52.969,0:46:55.559
is looked at the way in which

0:46:55.559,0:46:59.749
concrete and abstract
come together in an exchange

0:46:59.749,0:47:03.029
how the relative and
equivalent forms of value

0:47:03.029,0:47:04.589
build in certain ways,

0:47:04.589,0:47:11.049
generate this money commodity.

0:47:11.049,0:47:14.289
Then that leads us into
fetishism, but

0:47:14.289,0:47:21.289
let's have any questions you have about
this section and the preceding section.

0:47:21.289,0:47:24.289
»STUDENT: What's interesting, you asked
about whether Marx is attempting,

0:47:24.289,0:47:27.289
or we can use this as either a logical
or a historical argument, what's

0:47:27.289,0:47:35.289
interesting is that, people have come to
apply this approach to a historical analysis

0:47:35.289,0:47:41.289
and they have this concept of, contingency
and codification, so that capitalism develops as

0:47:41.289,0:47:48.289
a series of accidents (»DAVID HARVEY: yes), which become
codified, and then there's also the question of consciousness.

0:47:48.289,0:47:54.289
And then also brings to mind, I think, this
notion of the true in the form of the true and how,

0:47:54.289,0:48:01.289
what can we say about the social relations in
the capitalist society when…in capitalism you have

0:48:01.289,0:48:07.890
expressions embodied in things that
are in contradiction to something else,

0:48:07.890,0:48:15.890
like, for…, the expression of value is
in a contradictory form in the particular use-value

0:48:15.890,0:48:22.890
of something, and this idea that truth is when
representation and the thing itself coincide,

0:48:22.890,0:48:27.660
and are these the only ways
to have absurdities in a society?

0:48:27.660,0:48:31.390
»DAVID HARVEY: Well they're not absurdities
so much as I think Marx is all the time talking

0:48:31.390,0:48:35.959
about the internalizations of contradictions.

0:48:35.959,0:48:42.159
And those internalizations
of contradictions also become generative.

0:48:42.159,0:48:44.709
And it is the tensions there…

0:48:44.709,0:48:50.369
And here we will get
a kind of complicated

0:48:50.369,0:48:51.709
argument, which

0:48:51.709,0:48:57.659
I don't want to go into an any great
depth but a complicated argument, which says:

0:48:57.659,0:49:00.420
you know, are we talking about Marx's mode

0:49:00.420,0:49:03.429
of representation here?

0:49:03.429,0:49:09.799
And his talking about contradictions? Or are
we talking about real contradictions that exist?

0:49:09.799,0:49:11.619
Now, I've already indicated,

0:49:11.619,0:49:15.359
what I find fascinating
about Marx is that he sets up,

0:49:15.359,0:49:19.579
just in this chapter, this notion
of a contradiction within the money form.

0:49:19.579,0:49:23.399
And then when I'm looking at and kind of say:
Well, why did they go off the gold standard

0:49:23.399,0:49:26.780
in the late nineteen sixties, you know,
and then I kind of thought to myself:

0:49:26.780,0:49:30.940
Well, actually this helps
me understand something about that.

0:49:30.940,0:49:36.379
And I think it was very real, and if you
go to the literature you find: indeed it was real.

0:49:36.379,0:49:38.830
There was this nervousness
about the empowerment of the

0:49:38.830,0:49:42.409
Soviet Union and South Africa.

0:49:42.409,0:49:46.309
So, you know,

0:49:46.309,0:49:50.569
the relationship between Marx's argument
and the realities around us, and the tensions

0:49:50.569,0:49:54.329
we feel in our daily lives, is
always a complicated one, and you have to

0:49:54.329,0:49:56.339
work that through for yourself,

0:49:56.339,0:50:00.289
and work it out for yourself.
But what you have see in doing this: he is making

0:50:00.289,0:50:02.629
a logical argument here, where he's

0:50:02.629,0:50:07.189
talking about the way in which
these contradictions get internalized.

0:50:07.189,0:50:10.659
In something like money, right, what _is_ money?

0:50:10.659,0:50:13.529
It's a very interesting kind of question, you
know, I mean how many of you have thought about

0:50:13.529,0:50:17.049
what is money?, where did it come from?

0:50:17.049,0:50:21.939
And, if you go to Dickens' Dombey and Son,
you know, there is this Mr. Dombey and

0:50:21.939,0:50:24.690
little Paul is dying and he kinda says:

0:50:24.690,0:50:27.219
Papa, what's money?

0:50:27.219,0:50:32.069
And Mr. Dombey, the great
entrepreneur, can't give him an answer.

0:50:32.069,0:50:36.879
And little Paul's mother has died,
so he says: Well, can money bring her back?

0:50:36.879,0:50:39.279
And Mr. Dombey doesn't know what to say.

0:50:39.279,0:50:42.689
What is money? What is it?

0:50:42.689,0:50:48.130
And we're with it all the time, we use
it all the time, but it's deeply contradictory.

0:50:48.130,0:50:53.339
Also in terms of our
relationship with it, in terms of the fetish.

0:50:53.339,0:50:57.999
I mean, even I wake up sometimes
and sort of go and check what's happening to my

0:50:57.999,0:51:00.390
stocks in my pension fund, you know, sort of…

0:51:00.390,0:51:04.359
So we get a fetish about it, you know, well,
what is it?, you know. Oh it went up by two

0:51:04.359,0:51:06.579
percent, yeah!, you know.

0:51:06.579,0:51:11.409
Or: it went down by ten, you go: oh my god!,
you know, so I have a contradictory relation

0:51:11.409,0:51:15.720
to collapses of the stock market.
On the one hand I like it politically,

0:51:15.720,0:51:18.049
on the other hand I hate it personally,

0:51:18.049,0:51:20.429
because there goes my pension fund, you know.

0:51:20.429,0:51:24.289
So, so these kind of contradictions and
tensions are there all the time in our daily lives.

0:51:24.289,0:51:27.859
And so I think we need to think about them.

0:51:27.859,0:51:31.419
One of the interesting things about this
section is, that is written in a completely

0:51:31.419,0:51:33.839
different style.

0:51:33.839,0:51:38.119
I mean, the last section is Marx
with his dull accounting hat on, you know,

0:51:38.119,0:51:41.369
this equals that and that equals that.

0:51:43.359,0:51:45.989
This is Marx kind of

0:51:45.989,0:51:50.749
going off with

0:51:50.749,0:51:51.460
mysteries and…

0:51:51.460,0:51:56.619
werwolves and all the rest of it.

0:51:56.619,0:51:59.889
It's a very different writing style.

0:51:59.889,0:52:04.309
And one of the things that's
happened as a result of that, is that

0:52:04.309,0:52:09.349
quite a lot of people actually regard this
as some kind of extraneous piece of argument

0:52:09.349,0:52:11.229
in Capital, some sort of

0:52:11.229,0:52:13.680
thing, that's set off on the side.

0:52:13.680,0:52:17.640
And that therefore they don't take serious

0:52:17.640,0:52:20.500
note of it too much, when
they're talking about the general theory

0:52:20.500,0:52:23.499
that Marx is laying out in Capital. The other

0:52:23.499,0:52:27.519
side kind of doesn't pay much mind to the general
theory of Capital and treats the section on the

0:52:27.519,0:52:29.659
fetishism as the golden piece,

0:52:29.659,0:52:32.009
the golden nugget in Marx, and kind of

0:52:32.009,0:52:34.349
expands it into great social literary

0:52:34.349,0:52:35.909
theory and all the rest of it.

0:52:35.909,0:52:40.139
I think it's very important
to recognize that

0:52:40.139,0:52:44.769
Marx imported this into the second edition
from an appendix, as he did the third section.

0:52:44.769,0:52:48.660
He rewrote them and brought them into the
second edition, and therefore it was a very conscious

0:52:48.660,0:52:50.149
move on his part

0:52:50.149,0:52:54.759
to do this. But it also says
something about Marx's technique, that

0:52:54.759,0:52:58.549
he feels perfectly happy
switching writing styles

0:52:58.549,0:53:01.999
as he moves from one kind of topic to another.

0:53:01.999,0:53:08.699
And he matches his writing style to
what it is that he's really trying to convey.

0:53:08.699,0:53:11.330
So, I think one of the questions we have to

0:53:11.330,0:53:12.559
ask is: what is the

0:53:12.559,0:53:15.389
positionality of this

0:53:15.389,0:53:19.689
in Marx's general line of argument?
And I think that the positionality

0:53:19.689,0:53:22.919
is already partially being revealed with

0:53:22.919,0:53:26.119
his talk of how things get concealed,

0:53:26.119,0:53:30.130
how things become
mysterious, how

0:53:30.130,0:53:32.229
things get buried,

0:53:32.229,0:53:34.899
how we can't see quite what's going on, how

0:53:34.899,0:53:38.829
there is a complication of this contradiction between

0:53:38.829,0:53:43.739
the money form with its particularities
and the universal equivalent, which it's

0:53:43.739,0:53:45.780
supposed to be functioning as.

0:53:45.780,0:53:48.659
So these kinds of relations

0:53:48.659,0:53:52.959
have already been set up in such a way that
they start to become the focus, as happens

0:53:52.959,0:53:58.519
with all these other pieces
of the argument. They become the focus.

0:53:58.519,0:54:03.069
Ideas which are being latent
there, suddenly become the focus of general

0:54:03.069,0:54:05.129
kind of argument.

0:54:05.129,0:54:08.059
And what he's interested in here is really

0:54:08.059,0:54:12.390
two sets of things.

0:54:12.390,0:54:16.669
First is the unraveling of the,

0:54:16.669,0:54:20.309
the notion of fetishism of the commodity,

0:54:20.309,0:54:22.099
in which

0:54:22.099,0:54:26.640
an ordinary sensuous thing

0:54:26.640,0:54:30.669
gets transformed into something, which he says
on the bottom of one hundred sixty-three,

0:54:30.669,0:54:34.589
that "transcends sensuousness".

0:54:34.589,0:54:37.269
Something which,

0:54:37.269,0:54:44.269
on hundred and sixty-five, he says: "(…)sensuous
things, which are the same time suprasensible or social."

0:54:48.759,0:54:52.389
Now, the enigmatic character of a commodity,

0:54:52.389,0:54:55.249
as he puts it,

0:54:55.249,0:55:01.449
arises out of it's social character.

0:55:01.449,0:55:06.039
He says at the bottom of hundred and sixty-four:
"The mysterious character of the commodity form consists therefore

0:55:06.039,0:55:07.719
simply in the fact

0:55:07.719,0:55:12.249
that the commodity reflects the
social characteristics of men's own labor

0:55:12.249,0:55:16.349
as objective characteristics of the products
themselves, as the socio-natural properties

0:55:16.349,0:55:19.599
of these things."

0:55:19.599,0:55:21.900
A bit further down:

0:55:21.900,0:55:23.709
"What we find", he says is,

0:55:23.709,0:55:27.969
but this "is nothing but the definite
social relation between men themselves

0:55:27.969,0:55:31.229
which assumes here, for them,
the fantastic form

0:55:31.229,0:55:35.089
of a relation between things."

0:55:35.089,0:55:38.059
And he then makes
a brief sidebar about religion,

0:55:38.059,0:55:41.179
but then goes on to say:
"I call this the fetishism

0:55:41.179,0:55:43.620
which attaches itself to the products of labor

0:55:43.620,0:55:46.529
as soon as they're produced as commodities,

0:55:46.529,0:55:51.059
And is therefore inseparable
from the production of commodities."

0:55:51.059,0:55:55.909
This inseparability from the
production of commodities is extremely important.

0:55:55.909,0:55:58.599
It says that fetishism is not something that

0:55:58.599,0:56:01.619
you can sort of just
brush away.

0:56:01.619,0:56:04.579
It's not a a matter of consciousness,

0:56:04.579,0:56:07.049
it's a matter of

0:56:07.049,0:56:09.349
something that's deeply
embedded in the way in which

0:56:09.349,0:56:13.079
commodities get produced and exchanged.

0:56:13.079,0:56:14.879
As he goes on to say,

0:56:14.879,0:56:16.450
right at the bottom, which is the,

0:56:16.450,0:56:20.439
of hundred and sixty five,
which is the key passage really:

0:56:20.439,0:56:24.579
"In other words, the labor
of the private individual

0:56:24.579,0:56:28.059
manifests itself as an element
of the total labor of society

0:56:28.059,0:56:33.569
only through the relations which the act of
exchange establishes between the products, and,

0:56:33.569,0:56:37.499
through their mediation,
between the producers.

0:56:37.499,0:56:40.039
To the producers, therefore,

0:56:40.039,0:56:43.000
the social relations between
their private labors

0:56:43.000,0:56:48.159
appear as what they are", note that,
appear as what they are,

0:56:48.159,0:56:52.969
"i.e. they do not appear as direct
social relations between persons in their work,

0:56:52.969,0:56:56.539
but rather as material relations between persons

0:56:56.539,0:57:03.539
and social relations between things".

0:57:08.509,0:57:13.179
Now, the argument in a way is simple enough.

0:57:13.179,0:57:16.900
People under capitalism
do not relate to each other

0:57:16.900,0:57:19.549
directly as human beings.

0:57:19.549,0:57:23.219
They relate to each other
through the myriad of products

0:57:23.219,0:57:31.579
which they encounter
in the market.

0:57:31.579,0:57:37.349
But when we go into the market and we ask
the question: Why does this cost twice as much as that?

0:57:37.349,0:57:42.099
What we're encountering is an
expression of a social relation

0:57:42.099,0:57:45.359
which has something to do, in Marx's view,

0:57:45.359,0:57:51.419
with value,
socially necessary labor time.

0:57:51.419,0:57:56.139
Now, what are the ramifications of this?

0:57:56.139,0:58:00.069
There are a number of ramifications.

0:58:00.069,0:58:01.709
First off,

0:58:01.709,0:58:05.849
we can't possibly know

0:58:05.849,0:58:08.429
about the conditions of labor

0:58:08.429,0:58:13.489
of all of the people who worked
to put breakfast on our table.

0:58:13.489,0:58:15.769
We can't possibly know it.

0:58:15.769,0:58:19.529
It's so intricate, it's
so far fetched, it's so far flung,

0:58:19.529,0:58:23.199
And when you take the inputs that are going into
the inputs that are going to the inputs,

0:58:23.199,0:58:27.489
the coal that makes the steel
that goes into the tractor that goes into…

0:58:27.489,0:58:33.939
Millions and millions and millions of people
are involved in putting breakfast upon our table.

0:58:33.939,0:58:36.440
And the big question then arises: Well,

0:58:36.440,0:58:39.069
where does our breakfast come from?

0:58:39.069,0:58:42.989
I used to like to start my

0:58:42.989,0:58:46.879
introductory geography classes with that
question: Where does your breakfast come from?

0:58:46.879,0:58:47.680
Now,

0:58:47.680,0:58:49.349
go and think about it.

0:58:49.349,0:58:55.029
And the first answer was: Well, it came from the
supermarket. Well no, come on, go back a bit further than that.

0:58:55.029,0:58:58.169
And what do you know about the people who
produced it? And by the time we got into about the third

0:58:58.169,0:59:05.049
week, people would say things like:
I didn't have breakfast this morning.

0:59:05.049,0:59:10.119
I think it was a kind of sense of guilt that was
kind of bubbling up, you know, and the typical response

0:59:10.119,0:59:13.269
is kind of something like that.

0:59:13.269,0:59:17.059
So, the point here is that

0:59:17.059,0:59:18.839
the social relations

0:59:18.839,0:59:21.359
between things

0:59:21.359,0:59:26.489
mediate between us and
everything that is going on out there.

0:59:26.489,0:59:28.369
Now, Marx doesn't make this argument, but,

0:59:28.369,0:59:33.160
you know, I've had this argument for instance with

0:59:33.160,0:59:37.390
religious folk who insist upon, you know,
good moral behavior or something of that kind and,

0:59:37.390,0:59:41.619
and it's always about face-to-face relations,
I'm good with my neighbor and good with the person

0:59:41.619,0:59:42.440
next door,

0:59:42.440,0:59:45.909
I help the person on the street
I see, this kind of stuff.

0:59:45.909,0:59:49.779
And you kind of say, well what do you do about all
those people who are putting breakfast on your table?

0:59:49.779,0:59:53.689
What's your moral responsibility to all those
people? And the answer is: "Well, no, I am not

0:59:53.689,0:59:57.229
interested in that."
Well, that is where our real

0:59:57.229,1:00:00.719
social connectivity to the world of labor lies.

1:00:00.719,1:00:05.379
And it becomes a very complicated to
find out, so occasionally we do find out that,

1:00:05.379,1:00:08.809
you know, this

1:00:08.809,1:00:12.890
product has been produced under appalling conditions
of labor somewhere, so we should boycott this

1:00:12.890,1:00:14.419
product or boycott that product.

1:00:14.419,1:00:16.289
But you can see how

1:00:16.289,1:00:20.839
incredibly complicated
this world is.

1:00:20.839,1:00:27.839
And how the market system, and in
particular the money commodity, conceals from us

1:00:27.959,1:00:32.749
so much of what's going on
in the world around us.

1:00:32.749,1:00:36.750
And so Marx is starting out
by kind of saying: we've got to

1:00:36.750,1:00:42.469
confront
the way in which that world works.

1:00:42.469,1:00:46.639
and recognize that it is concealed
from us

1:00:46.639,1:00:53.469
by virtue of the way the market is.

1:00:53.469,1:00:55.999
And in so doing,

1:00:55.999,1:00:59.539
he comes back to…

1:00:59.539,1:01:01.890
going back over the idea that

1:01:01.890,1:01:04.229
commodities are objective,

1:01:04.229,1:01:07.139
they exist,

1:01:07.139,1:01:09.389
you can't go into the supermarket

1:01:09.389,1:01:12.750
and look at a lettuce and find out
whether it has been produced under

1:01:12.750,1:01:18.469
conditions of exploitative
labor or anything else, you can't do that.

1:01:18.469,1:01:23.010
So you have no means of knowing
and if you do have a boycott of grapes from

1:01:23.010,1:01:23.829
this place

1:01:23.829,1:01:26.319
you find the grapes turn
up as if they have been

1:01:26.319,1:01:30.859
produced in another place.

1:01:30.859,1:01:32.949
But then he goes on a bit further

1:01:32.949,1:01:34.949
and says this:

1:01:34.949,1:01:39.159
We have to understand, he says on the bottom
of hundred and sixty-six, that "Men do not therefore bring

1:01:39.159,1:01:43.169
the products their labor into
relation with each other as values

1:01:43.169,1:01:47.979
because they see these objects merely
as the material integuments of homogeneous human

1:01:47.979,1:01:48.929
labor.

1:01:48.929,1:01:51.019
The reverse is true:

1:01:51.019,1:01:53.759
by equating their different
products to each other

1:01:53.759,1:01:55.910
in exchange as values,

1:01:55.910,1:01:59.439
they equate their different
kinds of labor as human labor.

1:01:59.439,1:02:04.379
They do this without being aware of it. Value,
therefore, does not have its description branded

1:02:04.379,1:02:05.589
on its forehead;

1:02:05.589,1:02:08.410
it rather transforms
every product of labor

1:02:08.410,1:02:10.959
into a social hieroglyphic."

1:02:10.959,1:02:12.970
Later on, he says, we try to

1:02:12.970,1:02:16.779
decipher what this hieroglyphic was.

1:02:16.779,1:02:21.380
But: "The belated scientific discovery that the
products of labor, insofar as they are values, are merely

1:02:21.380,1:02:25.299
the material expressions of
the human labor expended to produce them,

1:02:25.299,1:02:29.399
marks an epoch in the history of mankind's development,

1:02:29.399,1:02:33.779
but by no means banishes the semblance of
objectivity possessed by the social characteristics

1:02:33.779,1:02:37.369
of labor."

1:02:37.369,1:02:42.759
Now, again what he's talking about here
is the generalization of the exchange process,

1:02:42.759,1:02:43.979
…the global…,

1:02:43.979,1:02:49.279
the world of commodities, the global structure.

1:02:49.279,1:02:53.339
And again he's coming back to
this idea that value does not walk around

1:02:53.339,1:02:55.899
saying what it is.

1:02:55.899,1:03:01.129
Value arises, the notion of value
arises out of all of these processes.

1:03:01.129,1:03:04.939
It doesn't precede them, it arises out of them.

1:03:04.939,1:03:07.839
And the value relation
is something which is produced

1:03:07.839,1:03:13.399
specifically within a capitalist society.

1:03:13.399,1:03:17.159
And it was a capitalist society that actually

1:03:17.159,1:03:21.469
unraveled the labor theory of value.

1:03:21.469,1:03:23.119
One of the first to actually

1:03:23.119,1:03:28.159
come up with some version
of the labor theory of value was Hobbes.

1:03:28.159,1:03:33.719
And then we get a whole kind of line, of Locke
and Hume and all these kinds of people talking about this,

1:03:33.719,1:03:35.059
and eventually

1:03:35.059,1:03:39.109
when you get to Adam Smith, you get a labor
theory of value in Adam Smith and a labor theory of

1:03:39.109,1:03:41.969
value in Ricardo.

1:03:41.969,1:03:45.589
So the labor theory of value is not something
that's been around forever, it is something which

1:03:45.589,1:03:46.279
essentially arose

1:03:46.279,1:03:54.000
with the rise of capitalism. But, as
we've seen, the labor theory of value,

1:03:54.000,1:03:59.059
as classical political economy saw it, was

1:03:59.059,1:04:00.079
labor-time,

1:04:00.079,1:04:04.459
not socially necessary labor time, no
distinction between concrete and abstract labor, all of

1:04:04.459,1:04:08.849
these things Marx has been talking about.

1:04:08.849,1:04:13.049
So the labor theory of value then, or the rise
of the labor theory of value, was concomitant

1:04:13.049,1:04:18.059
with the rise of the bourgeois epoch.

1:04:18.059,1:04:20.669
And it follows from that,

1:04:20.669,1:04:23.439
that the destruction of a bourgeois

1:04:23.439,1:04:28.619
economy, the destruction of capitalism,

1:04:28.619,1:04:30.399
would require

1:04:30.399,1:04:32.549
the construction of an
alternative value structure,

1:04:32.549,1:04:35.109
an alternative value system.

1:04:35.109,1:04:39.150
Or conversely, if you don't like the value
system of capitalism and you want something

1:04:39.150,1:04:43.279
else, then you better
become a revolutionary very fast

1:04:43.279,1:04:46.559
because, this is the
dominant form of value which

1:04:46.559,1:04:48.099
operates in our society.

1:04:48.099,1:04:52.929
And it operates, as he says,
behind our backs.

1:04:52.929,1:04:59.309
We don't see it, we don't
understand its consequences.

1:04:59.309,1:05:03.459
We end up with
schizophrenic forms of value,

1:05:03.459,1:05:06.969
like good face-to face relationships, but I
don't give a hoot about what goes on through the

1:05:06.969,1:05:09.669
market.

1:05:09.669,1:05:19.649
Those kinds of divisions.

1:05:19.969,1:05:23.169
And then we get the
introduction of something

1:05:23.169,1:05:25.099
which is also going to become

1:05:25.099,1:05:26.269
very significant

1:05:26.269,1:05:28.759
in the next chapter.

1:05:28.759,1:05:31.909
At the bottom of hundred and sixty-seven

1:05:31.909,1:05:36.529
he talks about the way in which

1:05:36.529,1:05:42.129
proportions of products get exchanged.

1:05:42.129,1:05:47.410
And clearly, these
exchange relations vary a lot.

1:05:47.410,1:05:52.089
"These magnitudes", he says, "vary continually,
independently of the will, foreknowledge and

1:05:52.089,1:05:55.799
actions of the exchangers.

1:05:55.799,1:05:59.099
Their own movement within society
has for them the form of a movement

1:05:59.099,1:06:05.619
made by things, and these things, far from
being under their control, in fact control them."

1:06:05.619,1:06:08.769
That is: the producers.

1:06:08.769,1:06:11.919
Who's in control of this system?

1:06:11.919,1:06:13.669
The producers?

1:06:13.669,1:06:18.529
Or does the system control them?

1:06:18.529,1:06:25.789
Now, of course, the argument
that the system controlled them,

1:06:25.789,1:06:27.989
is not unique to Marx.

1:06:27.989,1:06:29.589
The person who pushed it

1:06:29.589,1:06:33.199
most strongly was Adam Smith,

1:06:33.199,1:06:37.709
in the terms of the
'hidden hand of the market'.

1:06:37.709,1:06:42.159
It is the hidden hand
of the market that guided things.

1:06:42.159,1:06:47.339
Individuals, in a properly functioning,

1:06:47.339,1:06:53.139
perfectly functioning market society would
not have any kind of control over the system.

1:06:53.139,1:07:00.629
The market would be
the controlling mechanism.

1:07:00.629,1:07:04.579
And it would be the
hidden hand of the market that guided us

1:07:04.579,1:07:11.579
to the grand capitalist utopia.

1:07:12.809,1:07:15.499
But, says Marx,

1:07:15.499,1:07:19.239
within this market system,

1:07:19.239,1:07:23.749
a bit down on hundred and sixty-eight,

1:07:23.749,1:07:25.409
is that,

1:07:25.409,1:07:27.889
"The reason for this reduction

1:07:27.889,1:07:33.309
(…) is in the midst of the accidental and
ever-fluctuating exchange relations between the products,"

1:07:33.309,1:07:34.669
you can treat that as

1:07:34.669,1:07:38.119
fluctuations of supply and demand,

1:07:38.119,1:07:44.079
"the labor-time socially necessary to produce
them asserts itself as a regulative law of nature.

1:07:44.079,1:07:51.059
In the same way the law of gravity asserts
itself when a person's house collapses on top of him.

1:07:51.059,1:07:56.369
The determination of the magnitude of
value by labor time is therefore a secret

1:07:56.369,1:08:00.159
hidden under the apparent movements
in the relative values of commodities."

1:08:00.159,1:08:02.769
By the ups and downs of the market.

1:08:02.769,1:08:07.359
"Its discovery destroys the semblance of the
merely accidental determination of the magnitude

1:08:07.359,1:08:09.349
of the value

1:08:09.349,1:08:16.349
of the products of labor, but by no means
abolishes that determination's material form."

1:08:18.900,1:08:23.440
So within all of these market fluctuations,
and the hidden hand of the market, there is a

1:08:23.440,1:08:25.939
regulative principle which emerges,

1:08:25.939,1:08:28.509
and the regulative principle

1:08:28.509,1:08:32.579
is going to be that of
socially necessary labor time,

1:08:32.579,1:08:34.729
embodied in commodities,

1:08:34.729,1:08:35.859
which establishes

1:08:35.859,1:08:40.259
the average exchange ratio
with other commodities.

1:08:40.259,1:08:46.969
And this is going to be
the regulative principle.

1:08:46.969,1:08:49.689
So this is, if you like, the first part

1:08:49.689,1:08:52.140
of the fetishism argument.

1:08:52.140,1:08:55.659
The second part begins immediately after,

1:08:55.659,1:09:01.119
when Marx takes it into
the realm of thought.

1:09:01.119,1:09:04.789
How do we think about the world,

1:09:04.789,1:09:09.509
when the physical indicators

1:09:09.509,1:09:12.069
say: it looks like this,

1:09:12.069,1:09:19.069
when we understand it to be like that.

1:09:20.089,1:09:23.089
The notion of fetishism

1:09:23.089,1:09:25.139
suggests that there is

1:09:25.139,1:09:27.979
a deep way of looking at something,

1:09:27.979,1:09:32.279
which is other than it
appears upon the surface.

1:09:32.279,1:09:37.539
And Marx somewhere else
kind of made the comment:

1:09:37.539,1:09:42.579
that if everything were as it appears to be on
the surface, there would be no need for science.

1:09:42.579,1:09:46.329
And he's trying to construct
the science of political economy.

1:09:46.329,1:09:48.649
He's very serious about that science.

1:09:48.649,1:09:51.400
So he's trying to construct an apparatus

1:09:51.400,1:09:53.179
which is going to get behind

1:09:53.179,1:09:57.509
the fetishism, get behind
the surface appearance. How do you do that?

1:09:57.509,1:10:02.130
And how have other people
approached that question?

1:10:02.130,1:10:05.730
And what he finds, of course, is that many
people have not approached that question, they've

1:10:05.730,1:10:11.589
been deluded by the surface appearances.

1:10:11.589,1:10:17.030
But, go back to that very crucial thing:
they appear as they really are, the surface appearances

1:10:17.030,1:10:23.269
are not simply illusions.

1:10:23.269,1:10:28.030
Indeed we do go into a market/supermarket,
indeed we do shop, we do put down money,

1:10:28.030,1:10:29.840
indeed we do all of those things.

1:10:29.840,1:10:31.830
That is what we do.

1:10:31.830,1:10:38.679
And we watch ourselves doing it,
they're actions, it is real.

1:10:38.679,1:10:43.319
And you have to take account
of that reality. In other words:

1:10:43.319,1:10:51.679
you have to deal with the reality at the same
time as you're dealing with the underlying structure.

1:10:51.679,1:10:54.269
Now this is a familiar

1:10:54.269,1:10:58.949
way of proceeding in a
lot of scientific endeavors.

1:10:58.949,1:11:03.320
What does psychoanalysis do
if it's not about saying: Well look,

1:11:03.320,1:11:08.560
the surface appearance of
behavior conceals something else.

1:11:08.560,1:11:10.850
Then a psychoanalyst wouldn't say:

1:11:10.850,1:11:15.190
Well, that person who is aggressive and
wields a knife like that, he's just feeling insecure,

1:11:15.190,1:11:18.759
so don't worry about them wielding the knife.

1:11:18.759,1:11:20.569
You get out of the way.

1:11:20.569,1:11:24.260
You don't say this is an illusion,

1:11:24.260,1:11:25.810
no it's real.

1:11:25.810,1:11:30.459
But you do know that there's something
going on behind it which is other than what it

1:11:30.459,1:11:33.959
appears to be on the surface. So Marx
is making a similar kind of argument,

1:11:33.959,1:11:35.669
in fact he is a pioneer

1:11:35.669,1:11:39.719
of that mode of argumentation in social science.

1:11:39.719,1:11:42.030
And many people, I think, have taken

1:11:42.030,1:11:44.439
that ability from him.

1:11:44.439,1:11:47.590
But he then is interested in how

1:11:47.590,1:11:50.469
the surface appearances have been interpreted

1:11:50.469,1:11:59.760
in classical political economy.

1:12:00.090,1:12:01.669
And, as he says

1:12:01.669,1:12:05.429
on hundred and sixty-eight:
"Reflection on the forms of human life,

1:12:05.429,1:12:09.809
hence also scientific analysis of those
forms, takes a course directly opposite to their

1:12:09.809,1:12:11.570
real development.

1:12:11.570,1:12:15.860
Reflection begins post festum and therefore
with the results of the process of development

1:12:15.860,1:12:16.799
ready to hand." That is:

1:12:16.799,1:12:20.459
we've got to understand the world we're now in
and we have to work backwards to where it

1:12:20.459,1:12:23.449
all came from.

1:12:23.449,1:12:27.479
"Consequently," he says, "it was solely
the analysis of the prices of commodities

1:12:27.479,1:12:30.840
which led to the determination
of the magnitude of value…"

1:12:30.840,1:12:32.750
We started in the supermarket,

1:12:32.750,1:12:36.199
said, well, what's a common value?

1:12:36.199,1:12:40.639
"It is…precisely this finished form of the world of
commodities - the money form - which conceals the

1:12:40.639,1:12:42.649
social character of private labor

1:12:42.649,1:12:45.819
and the social relations
between the individual workers,

1:12:45.819,1:12:49.949
by making those relations
appear as relations between material objects,

1:12:49.949,1:12:53.369
instead of revealing them plainly."

1:12:53.369,1:12:58.119
He then goes on to talk about
the categories of bourgeois economics.

1:12:58.119,1:13:02.619
He says they "…consist precisely of forms
of this kind. They are forms of thought

1:13:02.619,1:13:06.480
which are socially valid, and therefore
objective, for the relations of production belonging

1:13:06.480,1:13:11.139
to this historically determined
mode of social production.

1:13:11.139,1:13:15.349
…The whole mystery of commodities, all the magic
and necromancy that surrounds the products of

1:13:15.349,1:13:17.760
labor on the basis of commodity production,

1:13:17.760,1:13:19.900
vanishes therefore as soon as we come

1:13:19.900,1:13:23.849
to other forms of production."

1:13:23.849,1:13:30.599
And he then has a great deal
of fun with the Robinson Crusoe myth.

1:13:30.599,1:13:33.150
Robinson Crusoe myth was used

1:13:33.150,1:13:38.380
by the political economists of the
time to fantasize about how somebody

1:13:38.380,1:13:43.369
operating in a state of nature would

1:13:43.369,1:13:47.309
decide on how to regulate their lives,
how to regulate their relation to nature,

1:13:47.309,1:13:50.769
what to do, how to do it,
all this kind of thing.

1:13:50.769,1:13:54.349
And Defoe had produced this kind of myth,

1:13:54.349,1:13:58.950
and actually the Crusoe-economy has
been a very important aspect of the whole

1:13:58.950,1:14:01.089
of politically economic theorizing.

1:14:01.089,1:14:04.949
But what Marx does is have
some fun with it and point out that

1:14:04.949,1:14:09.339
"Our friend Robinson Crusoe
learns (…) by experience,

1:14:09.339,1:14:14.029
and having saved a watch, ledger, ink and
pen from the shipwreck, he soon begins, like a

1:14:14.029,1:14:16.409
good Englishmen, to keep a set of books."

1:14:16.409,1:14:21.489
In other words, the fantasy was
based on English political economic life,

1:14:21.489,1:14:25.500
and then what the economists
did was to fantasize that this is how

1:14:25.500,1:14:29.429
a rational being in a state
of nature would actually regulate

1:14:29.429,1:14:32.769
their lives. So, Marx is
having kind of fun with this.

1:14:32.769,1:14:35.579
And he says, well let's go
away from Robinson's island.

1:14:35.579,1:14:41.749
By the way, I think that the economists
got the wrong Defoe novel, they should have

1:14:41.749,1:14:44.609
taken Moll Flanders,

1:14:44.609,1:14:50.349
it's much better, I mean, Moll is a
classic kind of commodity character.

1:14:50.349,1:14:54.249
She actually moves around and
speculates on the passions of everybody else,

1:14:54.249,1:14:57.110
and has everybody else
speculate on her passions.

1:14:57.110,1:15:00.929
And there's this wonderful
moment in Moll Flanders where

1:15:00.929,1:15:06.349
she spends all her last money and everything
she's got to sort of hire a carriage and dress

1:15:06.349,1:15:09.829
very elegantly to go this ball,
and she goes to this ball and she meets this guy,

1:15:09.829,1:15:13.449
and they both dance together and they decide to
elope and get married, and they elope and get married,

1:15:13.449,1:15:15.960
and in a local inn they
wake up the next morning and he says:

1:15:15.960,1:15:18.530
I hope you got some money because I'm dead broke.

1:15:18.530,1:15:21.790
And she says: I'm dead broke, too, and
they both laugh and kind of leave, you know, it's

1:15:21.790,1:15:23.949
kind of a wonderful, kind of

1:15:23.949,1:15:27.429
moment of how, you know, commodity collisions
can take place. And she goes to the colonies,

1:15:27.429,1:15:30.539
she goes to Virginia, she's in debtor's jail…

1:15:30.539,1:15:32.179
It would be a much better

1:15:32.179,1:15:37.449
metaphor for what capitalism is
really about than Robinson Crusoe.

1:15:37.449,1:15:41.219
But anyway, we go from Robinson's island

1:15:41.219,1:15:43.169
and we go and we look at

1:15:43.169,1:15:47.650
a situation which is pre-capitalist.

1:15:47.650,1:15:53.859
The world of personal
dependance in medieval europe.

1:15:53.859,1:15:56.480
He talks about the corvée,

1:15:56.480,1:16:00.980
and in which "…social relations", he says,
"between individuals in the performance of their labor

1:16:00.980,1:16:03.550
appear at all events as
their own personal relations,

1:16:03.550,1:16:06.729
and are not disguised as
social relations between things,

1:16:06.729,1:16:09.779
between the products of labor."

1:16:09.779,1:16:15.439
If you're working for the lord, you know,
you're working so many hours for the lord on

1:16:15.439,1:16:16.790
the estate.

1:16:16.790,1:16:20.349
That's it, I mean, there's
a personal relationship of dependency.

1:16:20.349,1:16:22.449
So, there's nothing

1:16:22.449,1:16:26.650
obscure about that, nothing opaque about
that, and he says the same thing about a

1:16:26.650,1:16:29.569
patriarchal rule, industry, a peasant family.

1:16:29.569,1:16:32.449
And he even then goes on and at the

1:16:32.449,1:16:34.820
bottom of the page hundred and
seventy-one to talk about:

1:16:34.820,1:16:36.569
"Let us finally imagine,

1:16:36.569,1:16:41.069
for a change, an association of free men
working with the means of production held in common,

1:16:41.069,1:16:45.210
and expanding their many different
forms of labor power in full self-awareness

1:16:45.210,1:16:48.609
as one single social labor force."

1:16:48.609,1:16:52.099
This is one of the rare passages where Marx
actually talks about some sort of fantasy

1:16:52.099,1:16:56.840
of socialism and what
socialism would be about. And again,

1:16:56.840,1:17:00.829
he says: "All the characteristics of Robinson's
labor are repeated here, but with the difference

1:17:00.829,1:17:03.239
that they are social instead of individual."

1:17:03.239,1:17:05.130
And he goes on to talk about

1:17:05.130,1:17:09.629
the way in which the social
relations in a society of that kind

1:17:09.629,1:17:16.629
would, on hundred and seventy-two, be "…transparent in
their simplicity, in production as well as in distribution."

1:17:16.780,1:17:21.350
So, he's talking about the very specific

1:17:21.350,1:17:24.989
quality, the opaque quality of social relations

1:17:24.989,1:17:28.670
as they emerge under capitalism,
and contrasting them with alternative modes

1:17:28.670,1:17:33.260
of production, in order to
highlight the specificity

1:17:33.260,1:17:37.159
of the world in which we have our being.

1:17:37.159,1:17:40.250
He then goes on to

1:17:40.250,1:17:42.469
make some comments which

1:17:42.469,1:17:46.249
are kind of interesting and controversial:

1:17:46.249,1:17:50.449
"For a society of commodity producers, whose
general social relation of production consists

1:17:50.449,1:17:54.039
in the fact that they treat their
products as commodities, hence as values,

1:17:54.039,1:17:58.730
and in this material form bring their individual
private labors into relation with each other

1:17:58.730,1:18:02.310
as homogeneous human labor,

1:18:02.310,1:18:05.459
Christianity with its religious
cult of man in the abstract,

1:18:05.459,1:18:09.789
more particularly in its bourgeois development, i.e.
Protestantism, Deism, etc., is the most fitting

1:18:09.789,1:18:12.270
form of religion."

1:18:12.270,1:18:15.710
Now as you know, Max Weber reversed that thesis

1:18:15.710,1:18:19.619
much later, to say that capitalism was actually
an expression of that religious belief, while

1:18:19.619,1:18:20.900
Marx is kind of saying:

1:18:20.900,1:18:23.789
actually that religious transformation was

1:18:23.789,1:18:25.209
a refraction, a reflection, if you like,

1:18:25.209,1:18:29.649
of these rising commodity relations,
and the rise of the value theory

1:18:29.649,1:18:30.250
and the value of

1:18:30.250,1:18:33.980
human labor in the abstract,
and all those kind of things.

1:18:33.980,1:18:36.780
And that the specific form of religious beliefs,

1:18:36.780,1:18:39.119
at some point or other, moves in parallel

1:18:39.119,1:18:45.799
with the transformations of the
economic and political structure.

1:18:45.799,1:18:50.039
And he goes on to kind of comment: "In the
ancient Asiatic, Classical-Antique, and other such modes

1:18:50.039,1:18:53.170
of production, the transformation
of the product into a commodity,

1:18:53.170,1:18:58.129
and therefore men's existence as producers
of commodities plays a subordinate role…"

1:18:58.129,1:19:02.799
And he talks about the impacts of

1:19:02.799,1:19:06.909
market exchange upon patterns of belief.

1:19:06.909,1:19:09.500
And those patterns of belief of course also

1:19:09.500,1:19:14.900
affect, what he calls on hundred and seventy
three, "the umbilical cord of his natural

1:19:14.900,1:19:20.049
species-connection with other men, or
on direct relations of dominance in servitude.

1:19:20.049,1:19:23.379
They are conditioned by a low stage
of development of the productive powers of labor

1:19:23.379,1:19:24.880
and corresponding

1:19:24.880,1:19:28.920
limited relations between men within the
process of creating in reproducing their

1:19:28.920,1:19:29.659
material life,

1:19:29.659,1:19:33.419
hence also limited relations
between man and nature.

1:19:33.419,1:19:37.989
These real limitations are reflected
in the ancient worship of nature…".

1:19:37.989,1:19:42.059
And he then goes on to talk, a bit further down,
"The veil is not removed from the countenance

1:19:42.059,1:19:44.199
of the social life-process,…

1:19:44.199,1:19:47.120
until it becomes production by
freely associated men,

1:19:47.120,1:19:50.919
and stands under their
conscious and planned control.

1:19:50.919,1:19:54.380
This, however, requires that society possess

1:19:54.380,1:19:58.409
a material foundation, or a series
of material conditions of existence,

1:19:58.409,1:20:05.409
which in their turn are the natural and spontaneous
product of a long and tormented historical development."

1:20:06.919,1:20:12.780
This is Marx in his speculative mode,

1:20:12.780,1:20:17.000
talking about how ideas and beliefs

1:20:17.000,1:20:19.749
are not immune,

1:20:19.749,1:20:24.699
and that, of course, is something that
carries over into the next two or three pages.

1:20:24.699,1:20:27.469
And, of course there's a lot of debate on

1:20:27.469,1:20:29.380
the degree to which we can

1:20:29.380,1:20:32.099
put credence upon this.

1:20:32.099,1:20:33.989
But it's very clear,

1:20:33.989,1:20:39.599
as he says at the bottom of
hundred and seventy-five,

1:20:39.599,1:20:41.809
that he is reiterating

1:20:41.809,1:20:46.800
a reductionist argument, in effect,

1:20:46.800,1:20:49.969
when he says, in the footnote:

1:20:49.969,1:20:52.909
"My view is that each
particular mode of production,

1:20:52.909,1:20:57.760
and the relations of production corresponding
to it at each given moment, in short 'the

1:20:57.760,1:21:00.320
economic structure of society',

1:21:00.320,1:21:05.129
is 'the real foundation, on which
arises a legal and political superstructure

1:21:05.129,1:21:09.440
and to which correspond
definite forms of social consciousness',

1:21:09.440,1:21:14.449
and that 'the mode of production of material life
conditions the general process of social, political

1:21:14.449,1:21:17.399
and intellectual life."

1:21:17.399,1:21:20.789
Now this is the argument he laid out in

1:21:20.789,1:21:22.270
the introduction to

1:21:22.270,1:21:25.010
the Critique of Political Economy,

1:21:25.010,1:21:28.739
and he's sticking to it in Capital.

1:21:28.739,1:21:31.150
It's a reductionist argument

1:21:31.150,1:21:32.800
that says that

1:21:32.800,1:21:35.909
beginning with an understanding
of the labor process

1:21:35.909,1:21:39.989
and the nature of the labor
process, and what the labor process is about,

1:21:39.989,1:21:43.039
how human beings are organizing their production,

1:21:43.039,1:21:44.449
on that basis

1:21:44.449,1:21:47.079
you can say a great deal about

1:21:47.079,1:21:49.449
politics, about legal structures

1:21:49.449,1:21:53.319
patterns of belief and the like.

1:21:53.319,1:21:54.899
You may not like

1:21:54.899,1:21:58.689
the reductionist argument and you can disagree
with it, but I think you should be very clear that

1:21:58.689,1:22:00.919
Marx is saying that,

1:22:00.919,1:22:03.379
that is what he believes, that's what he

1:22:03.379,1:22:08.719
thinks is significant.

1:22:08.719,1:22:10.339
My own view of it is that

1:22:10.339,1:22:12.590
it's an inspired idea,

1:22:12.590,1:22:17.169
but, like most reductionist
arguments, ultimately it fails.

1:22:17.169,1:22:21.149
But by taking that reductionist position
you start to see all kinds of things that you

1:22:21.149,1:22:22.989
wouldn't otherwise see.

1:22:22.989,1:22:27.280
And without that reductionist
impulse, Marx would never

1:22:27.280,1:22:30.869
have understood all manner of things.

1:22:30.869,1:22:35.099
You'll find analogous kind of reductionism,
by the way, going on in biological sciences,

1:22:35.099,1:22:37.799
where evolution gets reduced to, you know,

1:22:37.799,1:22:39.920
micro-physics and all the rest of it.

1:22:39.920,1:22:41.139
And again,

1:22:41.139,1:22:45.920
you could argue, well ultimately the attempt
fails, but the fact is that, you know, evolution

1:22:45.920,1:22:51.310
and genetic histories and so on, are now
sort of embedded in each other, and

1:22:51.310,1:22:55.470
the very search for the reductionism
has actually produced incredibly important insights

1:22:55.470,1:22:58.860
in the biological field, in
exactly the same way, that I would argue

1:22:58.860,1:23:00.820
that Marx's

1:23:00.820,1:23:04.719
holding to principles of
reductionism here, plays a

1:23:04.719,1:23:07.229
very significant role in his

1:23:07.229,1:23:11.129
method of inquiry and his impulsion to inquire,

1:23:11.129,1:23:15.219
and one of the things that I get annoyed at, I have to
say, is that people who kind of say: oh it's reductionist

1:23:15.219,1:23:19.309
therefore don't believe it.

1:23:19.309,1:23:22.949
If people were not prepared to be reductionist
about things we wouldn't know, we would hardly

1:23:22.949,1:23:25.849
know anything about anything.

1:23:25.849,1:23:29.539
And in fact, a lot of the time
we're constantly trying to reduce complexities

1:23:29.539,1:23:31.679
to simplicities.

1:23:31.679,1:23:36.459
And that has been a lot of what understanding
and knowledge constructions have been about.

1:23:36.459,1:23:40.329
And ok, we understand the world's
a very complicated place, on the other hand,

1:23:40.329,1:23:42.510
once you've got some of the simplicities,

1:23:42.510,1:23:45.540
there you can understand the complexities
in a different kind of way, and that's what

1:23:45.540,1:23:48.199
Marx, I think, does for us. But he is

1:23:48.199,1:23:52.539
very up front here about, this
is what he's doing, and in these passages

1:23:52.539,1:23:55.019
he's being very explicit

1:23:55.019,1:23:59.349
about how these belief
patterns cannot be isolated

1:23:59.349,1:24:03.379
from the nature of
the political economic process

1:24:03.379,1:24:06.769
which is being engaged.

1:24:06.769,1:24:08.369
But again, I want to emphasize,

1:24:08.369,1:24:11.520
the footnote on hundred and seventy-four,

1:24:11.520,1:24:16.050
towards the bottom, footnote thirty four,

1:24:16.050,1:24:20.599
is a very important footnote because there
he goes over what he calls the chief failings of

1:24:20.599,1:24:27.469
classical political economy.

1:24:27.469,1:24:30.549
And, what he's pointing about here is

1:24:30.549,1:24:36.269
that we should not make
the same mistake of treating

1:24:36.269,1:24:39.109
the value theory, the labor theory of value

1:24:39.109,1:24:43.860
as the eternal natural form of social production.

1:24:43.860,1:24:46.230
It is a historical construct,

1:24:46.230,1:24:52.400
and as such it can be historically deconstructed.

1:24:52.400,1:24:55.109
But the classical political economists treated

1:24:55.109,1:24:58.599
the labor theory of value as natural.

1:24:58.599,1:25:02.570
As something that was, and that's
why you go back to sort of Robinson Crusoe.

1:25:02.570,1:25:06.340
What would a natural person do in a natural
environment? Well, it would do what Robinson

1:25:06.340,1:25:10.389
Crusoe did. Which is what bourgeois

1:25:10.389,1:25:19.339
thought should be done,
in the seventeenth century.

1:25:20.300,1:25:23.750
And as he says on hundred and seventy four:

1:25:23.750,1:25:27.749
Bourgeois political economy, he says,
"…has never once asked the question

1:25:27.749,1:25:32.400
why this content has assumed that particular
form, that is to say, why labor is expressed

1:25:32.400,1:25:34.689
in value,

1:25:34.689,1:25:38.729
and why the measurement of labor by its
duration is expressed in the magnitude of the value

1:25:38.729,1:25:41.239
of the product.

1:25:41.239,1:25:43.870
These formulas, which bear the unmistakable stamp

1:25:43.870,1:25:46.070
of belonging to a social formation

1:25:46.070,1:25:50.629
in which the process of production
has mastery over man, instead of the opposite,

1:25:50.629,1:25:55.219
appear to the political economists' bourgeois
consciousness to be as much a self-evident

1:25:55.219,1:26:00.710
and nature imposed necessity
as productive labor itself."

1:26:00.710,1:26:06.269
This is a pretty devastating
critic of classical political economy.

1:26:06.269,1:26:10.829
And in a sense it was so devastating that,

1:26:10.829,1:26:14.639
with all the fussing that went on after Marx,

1:26:14.639,1:26:15.690
economics had to find…,

1:26:15.690,1:26:20.399
had to abandon the labor theory of value.

1:26:20.399,1:26:24.780
So what the marginalist economists did
in the middle of the nineteenth century was, faced with

1:26:24.780,1:26:28.870
this kind of criticism, they kind of said:
the only way we can deal with this is

1:26:28.870,1:26:31.289
junk the whole labor theory of value.

1:26:31.289,1:26:35.739
And so we end up with a marginalist theory of
value, which is, you know, a completely different

1:26:35.739,1:26:37.110
value structure.

1:26:37.110,1:26:41.830
And economics is reconstructed as a
neoclassical economics, rather than classical

1:26:41.830,1:26:43.469
political economy.

1:26:43.469,1:26:46.910
But with this kind of thing going on, it's
very hard to hang on to a labor theory of value.

1:26:46.910,1:26:53.420
And it had to be junked, or else,
you know, you would end up being a Marxist,

1:26:53.420,1:26:58.329
and nobody wanted to be that, so,
you know, classical political economists kind of

1:26:58.329,1:27:02.460
were thrown, were pushed aside,
largely because Marx

1:27:02.460,1:27:07.380
produced the kind of critique that made
it impossible to hold that positionality anymore,

1:27:07.380,1:27:13.779
without actually acknowledging
the power of what Marx is saying.

1:27:13.779,1:27:17.579
And he goes on hundred and seventy-six to say this:
"The degree to which some economists

1:27:17.579,1:27:21.499
are misled by the fetishism
attached to the world of commodities,

1:27:21.499,1:27:26.170
or by the objective appearance of the social
characteristics of labor, is shown, among other things,

1:27:26.170,1:27:32.280
by the dull and tedious dispute over the part
played by nature in the formation of exchange-value."

1:27:32.280,1:27:34.739
This still goes on, of course.

1:27:34.739,1:27:38.800
"Since exchange-value is a definite social
manner of expressing the labor bestowed on a thing,

1:27:38.800,1:27:42.179
it can have no more natural
content than has, for example,

1:27:42.179,1:27:44.259
the rate of exchange."

1:27:44.259,1:27:47.289
And he goes on to talk about

1:27:47.289,1:27:52.909
the physiocratic illusion that ground rent
grows out of the soil, not out of society.

1:27:52.909,1:27:55.289
And then some amusing ends

1:27:55.289,1:27:58.030
where he talks about

1:27:58.030,1:28:01.320
the way in which, if commodities could
speak, what would they say. In fact, that

1:28:01.320,1:28:03.049
language of commodities has been

1:28:03.049,1:28:07.589
here and I haven't commented on it,
but it's something which is a bit intriguing.

1:28:07.589,1:28:11.190
Ok, so that's the fetishism
of commodities, has anybody got any

1:28:11.190,1:28:15.599
observations?, I mean, I don't want to debate
too much Marx's major thesis, that we can do some other

1:28:15.599,1:28:20.429
time. I wanna get through chapter two,

1:28:20.429,1:28:23.699
so let's zip into chapter two.

1:28:23.699,1:28:29.369
Chapter two is, I hope, not too difficult.

1:28:29.369,1:28:33.210
What Marx is doing here is simply setting out

1:28:33.210,1:28:38.819
the conditions of exchange.

1:28:38.819,1:28:39.790
And he starts

1:28:39.790,1:28:44.119
by showing that, well, of course

1:28:44.119,1:28:47.670
commodities don't go to
market on their own, they have owners.

1:28:47.670,1:28:54.670
So we have to say something, not about commodities,
but about the relationship between commodities and their owners.

1:28:55.189,1:28:57.990
And what he does is to imagine

1:28:57.990,1:29:01.429
a society in which,

1:29:01.429,1:29:05.590
on the first page there, on hundred and seventy-eight,
he says, "The guardians must therefore recognize

1:29:05.590,1:29:07.989
each other as owners of private property.

1:29:07.989,1:29:09.800
This juridical relation,

1:29:09.800,1:29:12.370
whose form is the contract,

1:29:12.370,1:29:16.110
whether as part of a developed legal system
or not, is a relation between two wills which

1:29:16.110,1:29:18.819
mirrors the economic relation.

1:29:18.819,1:29:23.260
The content of this juridical relation (…)
is itself determined by the economic relation.

1:29:23.260,1:29:26.989
(…) persons exist for one another
merely as representatives"

1:29:26.989,1:29:33.219
and as he says, we're now going to look at
"(…) characters who appear on the economic stage (…)" as

1:29:33.219,1:29:40.219
"personifications of economic relations."

1:29:42.729,1:29:44.479
Let's take the last bit first.

1:29:44.479,1:29:49.839
He's going to look right throughout
Capital in terms of personifications

1:29:49.839,1:29:51.379
of social relations.

1:29:51.379,1:29:55.750
He's not going to be talking about individuals.

1:29:55.750,1:29:59.090
He's going to be talking about buyers and sellers,

1:29:59.090,1:30:01.619
capitalists and laborers.

1:30:01.619,1:30:03.400
He's going to be talking about people

1:30:03.400,1:30:05.689
in roles.

1:30:05.689,1:30:08.769
So the analysis is going to be

1:30:08.769,1:30:12.029
about what people do in those roles.

1:30:12.029,1:30:16.550
Individuals may adopt many different roles,

1:30:16.550,1:30:19.809
but it's a very familiar trope to

1:30:19.809,1:30:22.919
actually say, well, we're going to look at

1:30:22.919,1:30:26.070
roles rather than people.

1:30:26.070,1:30:31.050
And you wouldn't make the argument

1:30:31.050,1:30:34.619
that a discussion of the relationship between

1:30:34.619,1:30:37.429
drivers and pedestrians in the

1:30:37.429,1:30:39.239
streets of manhattan

1:30:39.239,1:30:41.320
is illegitimate because

1:30:41.320,1:30:45.280
people are both drivers and pedestrians.

1:30:45.280,1:30:47.380
And you're not talking about individuals.

1:30:47.380,1:30:50.210
You say, well, no it's still worth
talking about relationships which are between

1:30:50.210,1:30:55.439
pedestrians and drivers

1:30:55.439,1:30:59.509
because there's something important going
on there, and what you find of course is that,

1:30:59.509,1:31:03.199
on a given day, when you're the driver
you cuss the pedestrians and when you're a

1:31:03.199,1:31:06.790
pedestrian, you cuss the driver,
you know, so, this kind of,

1:31:06.790,1:31:09.949
so Marx is going to be talking about
roles, he's going to be talking about that

1:31:09.949,1:31:11.429
all the time.

1:31:11.429,1:31:14.429
And he's not going to be
talking so much about individuals, I mean,

1:31:14.429,1:31:19.079
occasionally he will, but, by and large,
he's just going to be talking about roles.

1:31:19.079,1:31:24.059
And the roles, in this case,
are strictly defined.

1:31:24.059,1:31:30.590
That he's recognizing individuals

1:31:30.590,1:31:34.429
who have private property relation over

1:31:34.429,1:31:37.419
the commodity they command,

1:31:37.419,1:31:43.790
and they trade it under
non coercive conditions.

1:31:43.790,1:31:48.530
That is, there's a reciprocity of

1:31:48.530,1:31:53.219
respect for juridical rights of individuals.

1:31:53.219,1:31:57.820
And this is, actually, a
description of the kind of legal and

1:31:57.820,1:32:02.559
political framework for
properly functioning markets.

1:32:02.559,1:32:06.109
And in that context he points out:

1:32:06.109,1:32:09.800
The commodities are, as he says
on hundred and seventy-nine,

1:32:09.800,1:32:15.279
"…born leveller(s) and cynic(s),

1:32:15.279,1:32:22.279
it is always ready to exchange not only soul
but body with each and every other commodity…"

1:32:23.099,1:32:27.260
The owner is willing to dispose of it,

1:32:27.260,1:32:31.389
the buyer is willing to take it.

1:32:31.389,1:32:38.940
"All", as he says, "All commodities are non-use-values
for their owners, and use-values for their non-owners.

1:32:38.940,1:32:44.159
Consequently they must all change hands."

1:32:44.159,1:32:49.579
Now again, his argument here
is historically specific.

1:32:49.579,1:32:54.949
So he has a good ol' crack at
Proudhon, in the footnote,

1:32:54.949,1:32:58.420
and the anarchist kind of vision,

1:32:58.420,1:33:03.399
because, basically he says, well
what Proudhon did was to take the

1:33:03.399,1:33:08.020
notion of justice, the
bourgeois notion of justice,

1:33:08.020,1:33:11.760
and the bourgeois notion of labor,

1:33:11.760,1:33:14.380
and labor input, as the basis

1:33:14.380,1:33:19.749
of the construction of an alternative society,
which is, as far as Marx was concerned, was ridiculous,

1:33:19.749,1:33:23.400
because all you're doing was: taking

1:33:23.400,1:33:27.600
the pure form of bourgeois consciousness and

1:33:27.600,1:33:30.989
saying, this is the way in which to escape from

1:33:30.989,1:33:39.559
bourgeois society, and Marx
kind of says: that's nonsense.

1:33:39.559,1:33:43.049
So, what we then go through,
to some degree in here,

1:33:43.049,1:33:50.049
is a recapitulation of the way
in which money crystallizes out.

1:33:50.110,1:33:57.110
As he says on hundred and eighty-one: "Money necessarily
crystallizes out of the process of exchange(…)",

1:33:57.639,1:34:01.929
and "The historical broadening and deepening
of the phenomenon of exchange develops the opposition

1:34:01.929,1:34:05.679
between use-value and value which is latent
in the nature of the commodity." We've come

1:34:05.679,1:34:08.610
across this idea, this opposition, before.

1:34:08.610,1:34:10.920
He's now coming back to it, expanding it a bit.

1:34:10.920,1:34:14.979
"The need to give an external expression of
this opposition for the purposes of commercial

1:34:14.979,1:34:17.170
intercourse produces the drive

1:34:17.170,1:34:21.329
towards an independent form of value,
which finds neither rest nor peace

1:34:21.329,1:34:25.220
until an independent form has been
achieved by the differentiation of commodities

1:34:25.220,1:34:27.550
into commodities and money."

1:34:27.550,1:34:28.270
In other words,

1:34:28.270,1:34:30.949
this, again is about the process of exchange

1:34:30.949,1:34:35.940
proliferating, generating, making that separation.

1:34:35.940,1:34:41.699
This separation, however, presumes,

1:34:41.699,1:34:45.760
he says on top of hundred and eighty-two,
that we're dealing with individuals and

1:34:45.760,1:34:47.269
private owners,

1:34:47.269,1:34:52.769
and that "Things are in themselves
external to man, and therefore alienable."

1:34:52.769,1:34:54.889
Alienable in this case means:

1:34:54.889,1:35:00.719
they're not part of my
being, I can freely dispose of them.

1:35:00.719,1:35:05.480
And you can freely dispose of
what you have. If you have some deep

1:35:05.480,1:35:10.199
attachment to something, you're not going to
be able to dispose of it but, the assumption is that

1:35:10.199,1:35:14.919
all commodities are alienable in this way.

1:35:14.919,1:35:19.099
And he says in the middle of that page: we're
talking here about "the constant repetition of exchange

1:35:19.099,1:35:24.749
[which] makes it a normal social process."

1:35:24.749,1:35:28.659
And this universal and social equivalent

1:35:28.659,1:35:32.199
starts to work its way
through different social orders.

1:35:32.199,1:35:34.579
And on a hundred and eighty-three
he talks about the way in which

1:35:34.579,1:35:39.909
"In the same proportion as
exchange bursts its local bonds,

1:35:39.909,1:35:44.309
and the value of commodities accordingly expands
more and more into the material embodiment of human

1:35:44.309,1:35:45.039
labor as such,

1:35:45.039,1:35:49.030
in that proportion does the
money-form become transformed to commodities

1:35:49.030,1:35:53.019
which are by nature fitted to perform the
social function of a universal equivalent.

1:35:53.019,1:36:00.000
Those commodities are the precious metals.

1:36:00.000,1:36:05.000
Gold and silver."

1:36:05.000,1:36:09.409
This then leads him, however, into
some important reflection on hundred and eighty-one,

1:36:09.409,1:36:13.729
hundred and eighty-three.

1:36:13.729,1:36:16.139
Bottom of hundred and eighty four, sorry,

1:36:16.139,1:36:17.329
and hundred and eighty-five:

1:36:17.329,1:36:21.719
"We have seen that the money-form is merely
the reflection thrown upon a single commodity

1:36:21.719,1:36:26.369
by the relations between all
other commodities. That money is a commodity

1:36:26.369,1:36:29.090
is therefore only a discovery

1:36:29.090,1:36:29.900
for those who proceed from its

1:36:29.900,1:36:36.900
finished shape in order to
analyze it afterwards."

1:36:37.479,1:36:41.849
This then leads him to talk a little bit
about the way in which money can take on symbolic

1:36:41.849,1:36:45.609
forms. But he then goes on to say:

1:36:45.609,1:36:51.269
in a sense "…every commodity is a symbol…"

1:36:51.269,1:36:55.509
A symbol of what?, well, a symbol of value.

1:36:55.509,1:37:02.509
"…it is only the material shell
of the human labor expended on it."

1:37:02.649,1:37:08.780
Now, frequently you find people talking
about, you know, well, what do we do about symbolic

1:37:08.780,1:37:13.019
aspects of economies, how
do symbolic economies work?

1:37:13.019,1:37:18.839
But what Marx's opening up here is a possibility
to absorb that kind of analysis, and it would take

1:37:18.839,1:37:23.710
adjustments and all the rest of it, but you can
absorb that kind of question into his analysis,

1:37:23.710,1:37:26.329
because he's very, very well aware

1:37:26.329,1:37:28.099
that from the very get-go

1:37:28.099,1:37:31.550
all commodities are symbolic,

1:37:31.550,1:37:33.940
symbolic of labor content.

1:37:33.940,1:37:39.090
Therefore, in a sense, we're dealing
with symbolic economies all along.

1:37:39.090,1:37:42.570
The nature of those symbolic economies, however,

1:37:42.570,1:37:44.989
can be transformed and shifted.

1:37:44.989,1:37:49.429
And we could look at that in
terms of our contemporary society.

1:37:49.429,1:37:50.819
But what we have to do,

1:37:50.819,1:37:53.239
however, is to be careful of

1:37:53.239,1:37:56.840
detaching the symbolic qualities from

1:37:56.840,1:38:01.869
its rootedness in the value theory.

1:38:01.869,1:38:05.260
And we always have to bring
those symbolic qualities back to

1:38:05.260,1:38:13.059
this rootedness. And as he says,

1:38:13.059,1:38:15.150
at the bottom of hundred and eighty-six,

1:38:15.150,1:38:19.939
"The difficulty lies not in
comprehending that money is a commodity,

1:38:19.939,1:38:24.550
but in discovering how, why and by what means

1:38:24.550,1:38:29.769
a commodity becomes money."

1:38:29.769,1:38:32.800
That's the conundrum he's been playing
with right away throughout of these last

1:38:32.800,1:38:39.800
few sections.

1:38:40.559,1:38:44.780
So this leads into talk, hundred and
eighty-seven, about the magic of money,

1:38:44.780,1:38:48.110
towards the bottom.

1:38:48.110,1:38:52.179
Then comes a very, very important sentence:

1:38:52.179,1:38:57.409
"Men are henceforth related to each other in
their social process of production in a purely

1:38:57.409,1:38:59.639
atomistic way.

1:38:59.639,1:39:03.859
Their own relations of production therefore
assume a material shape which is independent

1:39:03.859,1:39:08.760
of their control and their
conscious individual action.

1:39:08.760,1:39:12.879
This situation is manifested first by the fact

1:39:12.879,1:39:17.789
that the products of men's labor
universally take on the form of commodities.

1:39:17.789,1:39:19.349
The riddle of the money fetish

1:39:19.349,1:39:20.879
is therefore the riddle of

1:39:20.879,1:39:24.539
the commodity fetish, now becomes visible

1:39:24.539,1:39:29.229
and dazzling to our eyes."

1:39:29.229,1:39:31.759
What Marx is doing here

1:39:31.759,1:39:37.380
is accepting Adam Smith's vision

1:39:37.380,1:39:42.789
of a perfectly functioning market economy

1:39:42.789,1:39:48.900
in which the hidden hand guides decisions.

1:39:48.900,1:39:51.309
No one person is in charge,

1:39:51.309,1:39:55.159
no one person can command,

1:39:55.159,1:39:57.879
everybody has to function according to,

1:39:57.879,1:40:04.590
what Marx will later call, the
coercive laws of competition in the market.

1:40:04.590,1:40:08.190
Now, Adam Smith's thesis was

1:40:08.190,1:40:12.249
that actually individual
motivations of entrepreneurs and

1:40:12.249,1:40:16.099
autonomous individuals acting in the market

1:40:16.099,1:40:21.280
didn't matter, they could be greedy,
they could be selfless, they could be whatever.

1:40:21.280,1:40:24.739
They could be nice, they could be horrible,

1:40:24.739,1:40:28.429
but at the end of the day, Adam Smith argued,

1:40:28.429,1:40:33.739
autonomous individuals,
acting freely in the market,

1:40:33.739,1:40:38.690
following their own wants,
needs and desires in whatever way they wanted,

1:40:38.690,1:40:43.949
would be led to produce a social result,

1:40:43.949,1:40:50.949
when mediated through the hidden hand of the
market, that would redound to the benefit of all.

1:40:51.749,1:40:55.940
Marx is accepting that vision.

1:40:55.940,1:40:59.769
And I think it's very
important to understand why.

1:40:59.769,1:41:05.029
Marx's Capital is a critique
of classical political economy.

1:41:05.029,1:41:08.449
Classical political economy held

1:41:08.449,1:41:11.790
that if only you would let
the market do its work,

1:41:11.790,1:41:14.840
everything would be great.

1:41:14.840,1:41:21.840
If only you would get the state out of the
picture, if only you would eradicate monopoly control,

1:41:22.499,1:41:28.199
if only you would do all of those things,
you would end up with a social order that would be

1:41:28.199,1:41:32.739
incredibly dynamic and socially just.

1:41:32.739,1:41:36.239
That was Adam Smith's utopian dream.

1:41:36.239,1:41:38.339
That was Ricardo's utopian dream.

1:41:38.339,1:41:44.389
That was the utopian dream of liberal theory.

1:41:44.389,1:41:49.309
Continues to be the utopian
dream of neoliberal theory.

1:41:49.309,1:41:54.309
Only let the market do its
work and everything will be okay.

1:41:54.309,1:41:57.409
Now, Marx, at this point, has a choice.

1:41:57.409,1:42:02.199
He could say either markets don't work.

1:42:02.199,1:42:06.429
We all know there is monopoly, there is
power… and all the rest of it,

1:42:06.429,1:42:08.430
messing around and destroying everything, so,

1:42:08.430,1:42:16.379
I'm not even going to accept
that utopian project as being ever possible.

1:42:16.379,1:42:18.980
Or he can, as he does here,

1:42:18.980,1:42:23.179
accept the conditions of that utopian dream,

1:42:23.179,1:42:25.119
and then ask the question:

1:42:25.119,1:42:30.300
is it really going to benefit everybody?

1:42:30.300,1:42:35.590
And the big thesis that is going to
come out in Capital is: No!

1:42:35.590,1:42:39.320
It's just going to benefit the bourgeoisie,

1:42:39.320,1:42:42.799
It's just going to benefit the haute bourgeoisie,

1:42:42.799,1:42:45.859
and it's going to screw the workers,

1:42:45.859,1:42:48.570
left, right and center.

1:42:48.570,1:42:50.579
The closer you come

1:42:50.579,1:42:56.239
to implementing this utopian
project of liberal theory, neoliberal theory,

1:42:56.239,1:42:59.229
the greater the levels of social inequality,

1:42:59.229,1:43:04.650
the greater the degrees of injustice in society,

1:43:04.650,1:43:07.659
and the greater the destruction

1:43:07.659,1:43:12.479
of both environmental qualities
and labor qualities will ensue.

1:43:12.479,1:43:18.419
So Marx is accepting the terms of
classical political economic debate

1:43:18.419,1:43:26.829
in order to show that, in their own
terms, they are wrong about the outcome.

1:43:26.829,1:43:30.920
And he's going to prove it step by step by step.

1:43:30.920,1:43:34.530
But in so doing, he's going to confine himself

1:43:34.530,1:43:37.570
to the argument that the classical

1:43:37.570,1:43:41.059
conditions, which are laid out
in Adam Smith's hidden hand,

1:43:41.059,1:43:47.010
are actually there, and
have actually been achieved.

1:43:47.010,1:43:50.809
When we know, they've not been
achieved and they never were achieved.

1:43:50.809,1:43:56.109
But we have gone through certain historical
periods where people have tried to achieve them,

1:43:56.109,1:44:00.900
as over the last thirty years for example.

1:44:00.900,1:44:02.590
So what Marx is doing

1:44:02.590,1:44:07.370
is really trying to deconstruct

1:44:07.370,1:44:13.929
the classical political economic
vision of the liberal bourgeoisie

1:44:13.929,1:44:20.929
in order to show that it's self-serving.

1:44:21.039,1:44:24.309
But, it puts him in a problem
and it puts us in a problem.

1:44:24.309,1:44:28.539
When we're reading his analysis, we have to
be very careful in saying: is he talking about a real

1:44:28.539,1:44:33.519
capitalist society, or this theoretical society

1:44:33.519,1:44:35.449
which Adam Smith dreamed of,

1:44:35.449,1:44:39.099
and the classical political economists dreamed of.

1:44:39.099,1:44:43.310
And sometimes those two things
run interference with each other,

1:44:43.310,1:44:44.909
sometimes they mess each other up.

1:44:44.909,1:44:49.380
And we have to watch out for that. Sometimes he
ends up saying things which are not unrealistic

1:44:49.380,1:44:54.380
precisely because of that presumption.

1:44:54.380,1:44:55.629
So that's where we are.

1:44:55.629,1:44:58.659
We're out of time.

1:44:58.659,1:45:02.409
Next week I want you to
read the chapter on money,

1:45:02.409,1:45:04.709
the whole of the chapter on money.

1:45:04.709,1:45:10.219
Think about the structure.

1:45:10.219,1:45:13.309
It's a very difficult chapter,

1:45:13.309,1:45:18.709
it's the chapter that nearly
everybody gives up on.

1:45:18.709,1:45:20.539
If you get through it,

1:45:20.539,1:45:22.459
you'll be…

1:45:22.459,1:45:24.760
you'll be okay.

1:45:24.760,1:45:28.519
So, we'll go through it next time, thanks.

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