Class 2 Japanese

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Class 2

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»NEIL SMITH: What I remember
from those days is how textual

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the discussion was.

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And my sense from talking with students here

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is that while that's still a core
of what you're trying to do with the book,

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that the

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way you're teaching it has really evolved

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and changed in its own way.

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And, in one sense it's a much larger, it's
no longer just around a small seminar table

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where you're having a reading group, it's a much
larger group. You've certainly got a lot of the same mix of

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academics, students, faculty,
activists, and so on who are involved in it.

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But at the same time my sense
is that your approach to the

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book has changed somewhat too.
So I wonder if you might want to try and

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spin that out a bit. »DAVID HARVEY: One of the
great things about doing this all this time-

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and when you think about it,

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teaching the same book for nearly forty
years sounds like an incredibly boring thing to do.

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And most people, if they taught
the same course for forty years,

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would go nuts

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just doing it. But

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every time I go through it
I find a fresh angle on it.

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And the fresh angle is sometimes something
I didn't see in the text before which now jumps out

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at me as being very significant.

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And the other thing that happens
is that circumstances change,

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people's interests change,

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the intellectual background
with which they come to

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Capital changes, so

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actually taking this text and sort of,

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putting it with

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the changing historical and geographical
circumstances is actually… actually in itself,

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a very interesting exercise. I've always
found a great deal of excitement about that.

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But the other thing that happens is that,

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there are many things I see in the
book now which I didn't see before - in part

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because I've gone through it with so many
different people seeing it from different angles,

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that I start to see it from their angle, and
then and I see things that I didn't see before.

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But partly also because I think my
own intellectual interests have grown and shifted

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and therefore,

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in a sense I'm

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changing the way in which I think about
Capital and teach Capital, depending very much on

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the kind of circumstances
that I'm writing about today.

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[Music]

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I'm curious to know how many of you

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actually read these two chapters?

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Wow. How many didn't?

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Don't do it again.

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One of things I suggested last time was,

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a good idea when you're looking at

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a particular section, to

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go over what the main idea is,
because that way you can chart your way

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through what's going on.

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And last time we dealt with

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section one

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of Chapter One

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and I suggested that you
could decompose this into a very simple

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sort of structure

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which looks like this.

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Marx starts with the commodity

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as the foundation

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for his investigation of a
capitalist mode of production,

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immediately suggests

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it has a dual character: it has a use-value

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and it has an exchange-value.

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The mystery about the exchange-value was that
the tremendous heterogeneity which existed

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of use-values is somehow or other rendered

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compatible, commensurable.

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And so

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Marx argues there must be
something that lies behind

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exchange-value which explains that commensurability.

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And what it is that lies
behind is the notion of value.

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And he defines that as

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socially necessary labor time.

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In order to be socially necessary

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the labor expended on something
has to be a use-value for someone.

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So Marx reconnects

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to use-value and so you start to see value

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as a coming together of both use-value and
exchange-value in the concept of social necessary labor time.

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Now if you ask yourself this
question of what is the structure of the

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next two sections,

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they go something like this:

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He concentrates on

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labor time.

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He's already

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distinguished between

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the tremendous variety of labor
times that might be actually spent

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and something which he calls abstract labor.

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So here he takes a concept which was just simply

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referred to in the first section

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and splits it out and says, well,
socially necessary labor time

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has two aspects:

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concrete labor

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and abstract labor,

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and he talks about the
difference between the two.

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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

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and one's doing the abstract.

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No, there's one labor process
and it has this dual character.

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It is both concrete, and it is abstract.

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The question is how do you find out

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what the abstract value is in
the commodities which you've produced?

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And the answer to that can
only be found at the moment when

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abstract and concrete labor come
together at the moment of exchange.

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So we're now going to look at exchange and
the way in which exchange generates a way

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of expressing value,

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representing value, because
we know that value is a social relation,

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therefore it's immaterial.

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So what we got out of exchange,
coming out of exchange, is

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a duality again.

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Relative and equivalent forms of value.

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And these relative and equivalent forms of
value eventually coalesce at the end of this

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long, and in my opinion and somewhat turgid,
third section

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into the idea
that there is

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a way in which
value gets expressed.

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And it gets expressed

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in the form of a money commodity.

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You want to take this further into the next
section, the money commodity conceals something,

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it conceals the social relations.

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So the next section is about

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the way in which

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there are social relations
between things, and material

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relations between people.

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Now you can see a certain pattern

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emerging here in the nature of the argument.

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There is an unfolding going on.

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There is an expansion of the argument going on.

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And actually if you look at the logical structure

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of the argument in Capital you see
it is in continuous expansion of this kind.

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Now the classic way of thinking of
the Hegelian logic is of course

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thesis-antithesis-synthesis.

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But these are not synthetic points.

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These are points which internalize a tension,

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a contradiction

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that needs to be

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further expanded and looked at.

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In this section, the first section,

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we have the argument that there is a distinction
between abstract and concrete labor, but now

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we expand it.

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And out of that comes an
understanding of how

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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.

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It is not simply that you're
producing heterogeneous products

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you're also
witnessing a heterogeneity of labor processes,

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spinning and weaving,

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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.

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So he goes over that heterogeneity.

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In the process however

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he makes one move
to broaden the argument.

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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:

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"Labor, then, as the creator of
use-values as useful labor

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is a condition of human existence

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which is independent of all forms of society."

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Now, usually you don't

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find Marx saying that in Capital, because he's
interested only in how things work under

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capitalism. But here he is saying

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use-values have to be produced no matter
what kind of society you're in.

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He says "it is an eternal natural necessity

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which mediates the metabolism between man
and nature and, therefore, human life itself."

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What we're doing here

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is at this point,
we're introducing

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the whole idea of a metabolic relation to nature

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as being something
which has to be integrated into the argument,

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integrated into the analysis.

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He doesn't pay that much
attention to this in Capital, but

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the point of him making
this statement here is to say:

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there's no way which you can examine

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this whole process without
actually looking at this

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metabolic relation to nature.

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And he goes on to explain a little bit,
"the physical bodies of commodities

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are combinations of two elements:
the material provided by nature

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and labor.

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If we subtract the total amount of useful
labor of different kinds which is contained

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in the coat,
linen etc, a material substratum is always left.

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This substratum is furnished by
nature without human intervention.

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When man engages in production
he can only proceed

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as nature does herself."

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That is you have to proceed
in accordance with natural law.

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You "(…)can only change the form
of materials. Furthermore,

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even in this work of modification he
is constantly helped by natural forces.

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

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As William Petty says, labor is the
father of material wealth,

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the earth is its mother."

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That gendered metaphor is very
common of course from

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seventeenth-century onwards,
and so Marx is simply repeating

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something that had been there from
the Enlightenment onwards.

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But, notice something here:

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material wealth
is not the same as value.

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Material wealth,

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it's going to be the total quantity of
use-values available to you.

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The value of those use-values

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can vary in all sorts of ways.

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You can have a lot of use-values

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and very little value because
there's very little labor input,

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or you can have

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very few use-values and a lot of labor input,
so the relationship between wealth

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and value is not one-on-one at all.

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So, Marx's conception of wealth

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is about the material assemblage

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of use-values which are available to us.

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He then goes on
to make some comments.

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This heterogeneous labor contains
a bit of a conundrum.

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Different skills,
different capacities for productivity

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of different laborers,

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and we have to look at that
which he does over the next two pages.

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And he says in order to
really advance his analysis,

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what he has to do is to
create a simple standard of value.

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And this standard is going to be called,
as he says on hundred and thirty-five,

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"simple average labor".

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Now simple average labor,

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

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and at different cultural epochs,

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but in a particular society it is given."

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This is a move that Marx will often make.

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For purposes of analysis I'm going to assume
it's given, even though I know it varies

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all over the place.

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But for purposes of analysis
I'm going to assume there's something there

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called simple average labor,

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which is what the abstraction of value is about.

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Furthermore, what I do is I
take the issue of skills

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and complex labor,
and simply say:

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"More complex labor counts only as
intensified, or rather multiplied simple labor,

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so that a smaller quantity of complex labor
is considered equal to a larger quantity

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of simple labor."

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He then adds: "Experience shows
that this reduction is constantly being made."

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He doesn't tell us what experience it is
that shows us this.

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This is actually a rather problematic argument
and it goes under the title of

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'the reduction of skill to simple labor problem'
in a lot of marxian theorizing.

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And it poses certain difficulties for the way in
which certain people have used Marx's

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value theory. I want to signal

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the fact that this passage conceals

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something which is a bit problematic

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and which is being a matter of some controversy

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in the field of Marxian studies.

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What i'm going to do, therefore, is to

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ask the question

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which we have, I think, have to ask
of this. What experience is it

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that shows this reduction

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is being made?, and how is that reduction
being made?

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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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