Left Coast Media

Marx Headroom 004 - Capital Vol.1 Chapter 1

March 22, 2018 Left Coast Media
Left Coast Media
Marx Headroom 004 - Capital Vol.1 Chapter 1
Show Notes Transcript
This is it, the Big Book™ of Marxism: Capital Volume 1. Tiberius Gracchus, Outer Siberia and Empress "Rosa Luxemburg" Trixana tackle sections 1 thru 3 of chapter 1, covering the labor theory of value, commodities, and money. To join the discussion tweet at the show at twitter.com/leftpod with the hashtag #MarxHeadroom, or join the discord server. If you want to support our work and help us afford transcripts for the show go to patreon.com/leftcoastmedia and kick us a few bucks a month--anything you can afford is appreciated.

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Speaker 1:

Mark's headroom is a production of the left coast media collective. Connect with us on Twitter at left-pad and email@leftcoastpodcastatgmail.com with the subject Marxism and join our discord server. Please rate and review us on iTunes and soundcloud and if you're able, please consider supporting us financially@patrion.com slash left coast media. Thank you to all our comrade level patrons and a special shout out to our collaborators at Communist dog, the Kudzu commune comrades, Casey and a KGB operative onto the show. I mean basically we can just fly by the seat of our pants. That's fine too. Yeah, that's what I was going to do. That's my plan.

Speaker 2:

[inaudible]

Speaker 1:

right comrades and welcome once again to Mark's headroom. Very exciting. We are actually getting started on the big tex now. This is a Marx's Kapital volume one. It's a hefty tome and apparently like only a small fraction of what you wanted to get through. So, um, I think we've got a good solid 10 years of content here. What do you, what do y'all think? 10 it should be set for life. You just like, that's it. This is all we're doing now. This is my career now for the next like 50 years. This is, this is the only thing we're ever going to be talking about Tommy. This it was achieved and everything and we're still here. Yup. It's like you know the climate apocalypse stuff and it's like over the radio. Just like the discussion of capital. Yeah. Yeah. So before we go too far, let's actually introduce ourselves. I am as always Tiberius Caracas. I'm Rosa. I'm finally back for the fun in a bit. It hasn't had to everyone and Yup. I am outer Siberia still here and they can't seem to get rid of me. I can't seem to get rid of me. I'm just still here every week. Eventually we will. But today is not one of those days. So we are talking about chapter one this week. Probably going to not finish chapter one because I miss remembered how big chapter one was and it's kind of a beast. Yeah, it's, it's not small. None of this is small. It is. It is capital. We have hit the big, we have hit the big with this towards the end of the, actually it does get the chapters getting a little small because there are a lot of historical summary.

Speaker 3:

Yeah. Yes.

Speaker 1:

I mean you want to talk about magnum opus. This is definitely a magnum opus and incomplete, which is just fucking wild.

Speaker 3:

Yup. He did not finish it before he died. He just, he kind of, I completely empathize with us. He completely just did not finish. He just, Eh, he just put it off. He worked on it a bit over his entire life and then proceeded to die before it was all finished. So relatable. I know.

Speaker 1:

I hashtag relate to that. I meet with my thesis, I worked on it a bit and I'm, there's a deadline in two weeks. It hopefully I'll tie. All right. So, so chapter one is basically like an exit Jesus on commodities and um, it's, it's kind of an interesting place to start. I was listening to, uh, God, what's his name? Famous guy. Been Teaching Marx like literally his whole life. Uh, David Harvey. Thank you David Harvey. Yeah. So I was listening to it and he was, you know, talking about like, well there's all these other places he could have started. And I kind of assumed to that Marx would have liked before I got into this, that Marx would have started with like money. Cause that's pretty much where all economist start with which kind of he does. Uh, but there it turns out that there's something more fundamental than money out of which logically or historically you can go either way, uh, argue either way on that. But that money comes out of this more basic thing called commodities. So I think, I think what I want to do is just to start with where Mark's essentially starts with this chapter, which is the wealth of those societies in which the capitalist mode of production prevails presents itself as an immense accumulation of commodities. It's unit being a single commodity. Our investigation must therefore begin with the analysis of a commodity. A commodity is in the first place and object outside us a thing that by its properties satisfies human wants of some sort or another. The nature of such once whether for instance say spring from the stomach from fancy makes no difference. So commodities are just things I guess yes. Things outside of humans. Yes, there are external to us. Yeah. I think you can probably make the case that at certain points in time that people were commodities as well, that human beings had been reduced to the form of commodities. But uh, I cut before we actually like you delve a little

Speaker 4:

bit deeper into that. I think it's, it probably behooves us to understand the form a little bit more before we start talking about that because that's kind of a tricky subject

Speaker 5:

just a bit. Yeah. Yeah. The thing to understand about sort of capital is that what Marx is doing is he's basically saying he's taking all the, take all the boardwalk on us. He's saying, okay, suppose that you're right. Let's assume that like everything you say about capitalism, it's all your assumptions about how it works, how it functions. We'll say all of those are true. So now he's like, okay, I'm going to analyze it and I'm going to show you how it, it contradicts itself. Right? So He's, it's, it's sort of a, it's a critique that it's up to accepting those assumptions, but that doesn't necessarily mean that he's, that he is saying that they are true. He's saying that like, okay, say that like say that how you believe perfect capital so operates, let's take your perfect capitalism and now what we're going to analyze that.

Speaker 4:

Yeah. It's a by your own logic situation. Yeah. Right. And so then he expounds upon what a commodity is and sort of like ends up breaking it down into different forms because there is obviously the physical form, but there are sort of metaphysical things that are sort of tacked on to it that actually turn it from a thing which exists in nature in reality, into something that we define as a commodity. And that first piece is what Marx calls use value. And he says, here, use values become a reality only by use or consumption. They also constitute the substance of all wealth, whatever it may be, the social form of that wealth in the form of society. We are about to consider, they are an addition, the material at depositories of exchange value. And then he goes on to say this is another piece of what sort of constitutes a commodity. And he goes on to say that exchange value at first sight presents itself as a quantitative relationship as the proportion in which values in you. So if one sort are exchanged for those of another sort a relation constantly changing with time and place, hence exchange value appears to be something accidental and purely relative. And consequently an intrinsic value I e and exchange value that is inseparably connected with inherent in commodities seems a contradiction in terms. And this is sort of how the bourgeois economists kind of perceives value, uh, especially exchange value where it is, you know, they, they sort of mix up in their analysis the usefulness of something and the value of something on a market

Speaker 5:

place.

Speaker 4:

And then in the same way the exchange values of commodities must be capable of being expressed in terms of something common to all of them of they represent a greater or lesser quantity. This common something cannot be a geometrical chemical or any other natural properties. So secure, um, what he's talking about, he sort of going into this, this idea of, all right, so we have all these commodities, right? They exist within a marketplace and we can exchange one for the other. We can barter with them. There is something that is inherent or, or there is something that is a seemingly inherent to all of them, which allows us to say this certain amount of one kind of commodity is equivalent to a certain amount of some other kind of a co a commodity, which therefore allows us to exchange them a like for like essentially. And so it's trying to sort of like get to this. Okay, so what is that thing? And uh, this is, does that argument that we already saw in value, price and profit and this is his elaboration of the Labor theory of value. Yup. And so he, it's like he sort of saying that it's, it's kind of impossible to actually look at the, the use value or how useful something is to us or to society and its physical properties and come up with some like viable equivalency between, for example, iron and coats, right? So in, in order for you to actually sort of sit down and come, come up with an actual explanation for how one thing is equivalent to another, you have to find something which is common to all of them, which is possessed by all of them. That, that you can like measure one against the other. And, uh, as we, as we read and value price and profit, and as Marx writes here, if we then leave out the consideration of the use value of commodities, they have only one common property left that of being products of labor. Right. So basically, I mean this is just the familiar argument. I think. So, yeah. If you listen to the previous podcast and this should be understandable and I kind of want to get to where he talks about what that um, ah yes. Section two here. The two fold character of labor embodied within commodities. Uh, Rosa, do you want to sort of talk about this section?

Speaker 3:

So we are hitting all, it's not, it's very quick to hit the meat of that, of this whole book here. This is where we start with the coats, his discussion on the production of coats and hypothetical with regard to how commodities are are produced. So he says, let us take two commodities such as a coat and 10 yards to Lennon and let the former beat double the value of the ladder. So that if 10 yards of one and equals w the code equals two w the coat is a use value that satisfies a particular wants. Its existence is the result of a special sort of productive activity. The nature of which is determined by its aim, its mode of operation, subject means and result Labor, who's utilities that's represented by the value in use of its product or which manifests itself by making this product that use value we call useful labor. And this and this connection will consider only it's useful effect.

Speaker 4:

Oh yeah. So welcome to coat talk with your, uh, Marx and Engels, the communists.

Speaker 5:

Let me see. You see a coats are not exchanged for coats. You don't have one coat, you don't trade it for another coat. It's the same coat.

Speaker 3:

Yeah. This is basically going to be that just have 90% of capital from this point onward,

Speaker 5:

right? Yes, exactly. Saying that you only exchange things that are qualitatively different. Right. So you inherently can't look at their users value because by definition is you're exchanging then they're used value in comparable, otherwise you wouldn't be exchanging them.

Speaker 4:

Yeah. To all the different varieties of values and use their corresponds to as many different kinds of useful labor classified according to order, genus, species and variety to which they belong in the social division of Labor. This division of labor is a necessary condition for the production of commodities, but it does not follow conversely, that the production of commodities is a necessary condition to the division of social labor. Uh, in every factory. The Labor is divided according to a system, but this division has not brought about by the operatives mutually exchanging their individual products. So this is sort of relating that, that same kind of concept to like labor itself, I think.

Speaker 5:

Yeah. So he's saying that basically you need division of labor because by definition that means that you're producing different things. That's why you need to exchange them. Uh, but that doesn't necessarily, you can have division of labor without producing commodities, right? So he talks about what it means to set up you just commodities. Like the, going back to just the end of the previous section really quick. Uh, he says, uh, I think in via use value without having value. So this is not so natural thing. He says air virgin soil, natural meadows, because it's useful to us isn't created by human labor or it could still be created by human labor, but not a commodity. If you produce something and use it yourself, then you quit use value but not a commodity. Right? So in order to produce a commodity, you have to produce not only I use value, but also a social users value. That is to say you saw you for others, right? So basically it means that there has to be a division of labor because it means that like, just producing

Speaker 4:

some labor and the producing certain commodities of literature is different commodities and they have to be exchanged. Right. And like you said, the, the sort of fundamental reason for that is that when we are talking about the exchange of commodities, they, it doesn't really make a whole lot of sense on a, like, systemic societal level to be exchanging the, the same thing for the same thing. Like why, why would you have a, an entire social system based on like trading coats, four coats. Like you have a coat, you need a coat, you were the coach, you've got, you know, you can only wear one coat unless you're like a Lennon, then you can wear as many codes as you want. Yeah. Okay. Right. And so then this sort of like naturally rolls into a, as you say, if you have all of these various commodities that must be exchanged in different, for different, with, with something in common that that common thing must be labor. And so in order for you to have a, uh, system within society that exchanges so many different things for so many other different things, you need the, it, it requires a, a division and specialty of labor to be able to create or at least mass produce those various different commodities. Do we have anything else to say about that specifically? No, I think we can go to the next paragraphs here. Yeah. So then, uh, then he goes into a little bit, he, he touches on the, so one point at a couple pages later taking the various forms of labor and sort of condensing them down into this homogenous unit essentially. Yeah. And we saw the invalue place in profit also. He talks about these sorts of abstraction because again, they have to be abstracted. We can't talk about the specific labor that makes the coat or to specific labor. They're produced iron because they, again, they have nothing to do with each other. Right. It has to be abstracted. Yeah. And then talking about reducing our labor for even further to simple labor, uh, you know, whereas the, you'd have trained craftsmen or people with very specialized skills developed over a long period of time that can do things that a simple labor or couldn't. But uh, he, he then goes on to sort of say that we can relate it to simple labor by some proportion of simple labor required on top of each unit of skilled labor that would essentially make them equivalent, which he says for simplicity's sake, we shall hence, hence forth account every kind of labor to be unskilled, simple labor. Uh, by this we do no more than save ourselves the trouble of making the reduction. Right. And know that again, he's not the sort of eluding that difference. He's just ignoring it for the purposes of this argument because he says it's pretty good at a different proportions in which different sorts of labor or reduced unskilled labor

Speaker 1:

as their standard or established by a social process that goes on behind the backs of the producers and consequently appear to be fixed by customs. So he's saying, okay, let's say they're fixed here, so he does not going to go into like how that reduction specifically takes place in this work. But that doesn't mean that he doesn't care about it necessarily. And it's also kind of under argued I think. But leaving that sort of like problematic aspect of it, we can just sort of roll on and say, okay, let's just accept this for now and then see, see where all of this leads. Sort of the same idea that he's talking about capitalism as it's, as it is presented by Boucicault economists and it's sort of idealized form. We can just take those premises of the capitalists, I'll upon face value and then see where they lead. I think we can do the same with this argument about Labor to say, all right, so you can take this concept of all labor, like basic, literally all Labor that produces commodities. Foreign exchange can be a in some way reduced down to a single unit of homogenous labor time and see where that is in some way through some process. Like the only thing humans can feel, his things humans can do basically, right? Like in humans can all do basically the same thing when they're born. So what happens after it must be also have been created by other humans doing the basic things humans can do, right? So if you were to become a skilled worker, then you received some kind of training and education and et Cetera, right? Right. Like so you gain those skills for him again, but human labor. So again, we can just simplify it in that way and we're going to address how all that, all those other processes take place in. Right here. Yep. So moving on to, um,

Speaker 4:

going, going back to the sort of, once we've set aside, okay. So we're, we're measuring things as homogenous units of labor. That is the socially necessary labor time. Uh, we can then go back to talking about the value inherent or attributed to commodities like coats and linens. We can talk about coats again. Yay. Coatsin Lennon's however, are not merely values but values of definite magnitude. And according to our assumptions, the coat is worth twice as much as 10 yards of linen. When's this difference in their values? It is owing to the fact that the linen contains only half as much labor as the coat and consequently that in the production of the ladder, the labor power must have been expended during twice the time necessary for the production of the former. While therefore with reference to use value, the labor contained in a commodity counts only qualitatively with reference to value. It counts only and must first be reduced to human labor. Pure and simple. So then talking about the amount of time which on average is necessary to go into the production of the commodity is the thing that is common to all commodities. And because we cannot come measure quality versus a differentiated quality, we must then then measure the quantity of the Labor which went into one versus the quantity of the Labor which went into the other.

Speaker 5:

Yeah. And so then the continues to finally elaborate the distinction between use value and exchange, how you're more, he says that an increase in the quantity of use value is an increase in material wealth with two coats. Two men can be clothed with one code only one map

Speaker 4:

unless they're kinky like that, like I'm not going to judge. He can

Speaker 3:

different time he did, he didn't know of these.

Speaker 5:

Nevertheless, an increased quantity of material wealth may correspond to a simultaneous fall in the magnitude of his value. This antagonistic movement has its origin in the two fold character of labor. Right? So again, he's saying that because you're producing use, he's on the one hand and exchange and now he's on the other, you produce more coats, that means there's more material wealth. You're producing more coats, but the value of coats is actually falling then because you're, it takes less labor to produce them.

Speaker 3:

Yes, like when you have more things like what it's like if there's just one thing, it's kind of rare but the more you make the more common it is. So like it you cannot like by, by that definition, if you are, if you make 100 coats, then the price is going to be in the value of it's going to be much lower than if you just had one in existence.

Speaker 5:

Right. If you make, if you could make a hundred coats in the same time, you would make one coat. Then obviously their value is one 100th of the like this, so again, east says that however the productive, how may have very the same labor exercise during equal periods of time always yields equal amounts of value, but it will yield your equal periods of time, different quantities, value in use. If you make in eight hours, you make one coach. Then if you make an eight hours, a hundred coats, obviously the value of each code is less. The value of the coat that you made that it took you eight hours to make was more a a note that he's saying and the abstract. He's not saying that if you're like really bad at making coats, that makes her costar valuable because it means that in the abstract, how much does it take to make a coat on average.

Speaker 4:

And note also that he is, he is talking about and sort of like a snapshot in time if, if the person who can create a hundred coats in the same span oh time that it takes other people on to make a single coat and this person kept creating them and creating them and and you know, taught other people how to do it. Like that would change the value of the, of essentially like the per unit time expended within each of those coats. So the value is not a fixed thing over time and space, but it changes in reference to what actually is that socially necessary average labor time that goes into making those coats or any other form of commodity. Yup. Sounds good. And it's also, you know, it's, it's not something that is physically inherent to it marks. It talks about the it a little bit later he talks about comparing two separate forms of matter. Like the sugar loaf, which not exactly sure what that does and it doesn't really matter. So I didn't bother looking it up and comparing it to iron and they're two vastly different things. They don't really have a whole lot of qualitatively similar properties that that we can sort of usefully measure them by. But they both have weight, they both have mass and, and we can uh, use the one to, to measure against the other,

Speaker 5:

which, so a sugar loaf is how they sold sugar. And then in the late until the late 19th century, they literally just sold you like a loaf of sugar and you had to have this tool to cut pieces off of it.

Speaker 4:

Ah, ah. Yup. And that's how they would sell sugar. I just looked it up on Wikipedia. It's like pretty wild. I suppose if you don't have plastic or other sort of a sealed vessel cheaply and readily available to carry the sugar around, it kind of does make sense that they can sell it in, in sort of a, a brick form. It actually, it was a lot of brick. It was a cone. Yeah. Well, I mean, yeah, it was like a giant, it was a giant cone. It was like a target. You can actually still get those at uh, at certain like Mexican markets. It's not, it's not pure like refined sugar. But yeah. Uh, I can't remember what it's called, but it actually, it sits very good sugar. So, so go get you a sugar loaf

Speaker 5:

please. This is the, this is the only endorsement of commodity. The only thing you need to take away from this book is that sugar loaves. Sure. Mr. Good. Sure. Loves her. Good. Karl Marx. Yeah.

Speaker 4:

Uh, yeah. So, uh, in, in section three, part one here, he talks about the two poles of the expression of value, relative form and equivalent form, which is starting to get into a where we were talking about and relating them. Uh, this, this one starts the whole mystery of the form of value lies hidden in this elementary form. It's analysis, therefore is our real difficulty. And this is this elementary form he's talking about is you know we have a certain amount of one quantity and we can say that there is some process which in which we can say that that amount of the first quantity is equal to some other amount of a different commodity. And so we can say that you know 20 yards of linen is the equivalent of one coat for some value or some definition of equivalent. And so this is where he talks about here are two different kinds of commodities. In our example the linen and the coat evidently played two different parts. The linen expresses its value in the coach. The coach serves as the material in which the value is expressed, the former plays and active and the latter. A passive part. But you know he goes on because this is sort of a like a mathematical relationship. We can then flip that and say that one coat is equal to 20 yards of linen. So we have the, the use value of the coat, which we are then measuring against the exchange value of the linen so that we are measuring the co by the linen and we are measuring the linen by the coach. And so we can, because there is is something that is or there is something that is equivalent in both that we can use one to measure the other, which is you know, where he talks about using the iron to measure the weight of the Sugarloaf. We have this iron, we say this, uh, this amount of iron is going to be our unit and then we are going to say, I want to know how much of the sugar loaf I have. We can use that iron on a weight scale. And the process of weighing the two, uh, gives us the equivalency between them. Right. But it doesn't mean that like they're equivalent like one-to-one in mass, but I mean we can just use it some quantity of iron to express some quantity of Sugarloaf. Right. In section two or part two here of section three a, the magnitude of different things can be compared quantitatively only when those magnitudes are expressed in the terms in terms of the same unit. If we say that as values, commodities are mere conjugations of human nature, we reduced them by our analysis. It is true to the abstraction value, but we ascribed this value, uh, no form apart from their bodily form by making the coat the equivalent of the linen, we equate the labor embodied in the former to that of the ladder in this roundabout way. Then the fact is expressed that in so far as the creation of the linen and the weaving of the linen has value, it has nothing to distinguish it from tailoring and consequently it's abstract human form. So, um,

Speaker 5:

right. So he's saying that on the one hand, the thing that you're equivalent to that thing is expressing it value in the equivalent form and the thing that you are expressing, it's about the value of it in that other commodity is, so like if you say some commodity a equals some quality of quantity, he goes, I'm Corny, Corny B, then the quantity of commodity a is in the relative form of value and the quantity, quantity B is and the equivalent form because you are using that as the equivalent, you're not saying anything about the value of commodity B. You only say things about the value of corner a relative to commodity B. Yeah.

Speaker 4:

And He um, uses a lot of different sort of analogies to explain this from talking about like chemistry and geometry coats and linen, all kinds of your majesty. I don't even get that part, but he explains it in like five or six different ways.

Speaker 5:

Yeah. There is a, there is a point where he compares it to the lamb of God.

Speaker 4:

Yeah. Yeah. He really wants you to understand this part. Like he's really saying, all right, so this is what this means. Did, did you get that? I'm going to explain it in a different way. So this is what this means. Okay. Uh, did you get that? Just to make sure, I'm going to explain it like five more times. Okay. So this is what this means.

Speaker 5:

So yes. So we're saying that when you're, when you're putting a commodity on the right side of this equation, that is to say, you're saying that we're going to express the commodity on the left side in terms of this commodity, then it's existing as, okay, a depository of value. It's, it's a, it's an embodied value. So it does what he's a, for instance, cannot be, I looked up the your majesty thing because I'd forgotten about this. A, for instance, cannot be Your Majesty to be, and let's same time majesty and be Xyz assumes the bodily form of a, so basically we're saying that if we're saying that 20 Leonard is one coat, then one coat must express some value to us. Did it say that how you would express this is the Labor in it? Right? So we're, we're saying that the 20 yards of linen, mmm. We're saying is equivalent to one coat. And then we're saying that the one coat must be expressed to something else to us, which she then goes on to say sort of how money also works. And he says that money isn't going to be any different than this. He says that, uh, he clearly and unseats that the, yeah, so he's talking about Aristotle here, uh, which has Aristotle is in this,

Speaker 4:

yeah, he may, he manages a brief aside where he talks about like if, if the amount of labor embodied within the linen changes relative to the amount of labor embodied within the code, like you would have different, uh, sort of like exchange rates between them so that, you know, it's, if you sort of understand a basic Algebra, I mean, you would read that and go, yeah, that'll make sense.

Speaker 5:

Right. So you can say the value of both commodities could change, but they're relative form could stay the same or the valuable commodities could change in their relative value could also change because it all depends on what fortune they change. And that makes sense if we know how the equations work. Yes. Um, and then he says Aristotle, which apparently he says the Aristotle got this right. Aristotle, clearly MNCs at the money form of commodities, only the further development of the simple form of value, I e of the expression of the value of one commodity and some other commodity taken at random for he says that five beds is what house is not to be distinguished from five beds is so much money. So apparently Aristotle got this right.

Speaker 2:

Okay.

Speaker 5:

According to Marx, Aristotle probably wasn't aware that this, this was,

Speaker 4:

I think, well, and, and the reason why he says that Aristotle would not or could not, uh, in his day had been aware of this was because that, you know, when, when you're talking about the, the human labor and bodied within a commodity, you can't, uh, in his society declared that to have some sort of a universal equivalency in, in every commodity. Because fundamentally human beings, we're not equal to each other in in the sense that, that, that their Labor had a generalizable homogenous value because the Greek society was a slave society in which the value of the master, the, the work that the master did was fundamentally incompatible under that societal norms to the value that the slave produce, which I think again, raises a really problematic issue when you're talking about capitalism, even in Marx's time when you're looking at America, for example, America being, uh, the other prominent example of a slave society, but yet it operated under this same kind of assumption of uh, labor value as Marx would analyze it as,

Speaker 5:

right. But in this case, the sort of the sort of bourgeois, uh, economists would not, like the slaves would not be part of this sort of perfect sort of sort of capital and slaves would be, uh, a commodity within that. Right. Whereas this is talking about exchange of commodities. Hmm. Yeah. Until the notion of human equality is already fixed according the fixity of popular prejudice. Right. So the existence of sort of the race based system. Yeah, I think it is true that mark sort of does it allude that here might be a,

Speaker 2:

okay.

Speaker 5:

It's Sorta, it's very important to analyze. Yeah. It's not clear that Marx does spend a lot of time doing that in other works.

Speaker 1:

I'm still trying to track down a Marx's letters to Lincoln cause then I have, he wrote them and I've seen some quotes from them. Yeah. But like the actual full let, I think the only thing that I've written that is concrete is his, is the joint message of the entire international to Lincoln and the response my or his by Lincoln staff. That's the only thing I've actually read in concrete.

Speaker 5:

Yeah. So I think the notion of human equality here is more of that there is a notion of, because even under slavery in America, there is also simultaneously this sort of system of labor and that sort of exchange is where the notion of equality would be visible. Whereas in relation to uh, black slaves, then there would not, they would not be this notion of equality. So it wouldn't hold there. Hmm. Wouldn't hold in that context. Yeah. So I think that mark, sorry, I think that mark does sort of like, he just missed this in terms of like he doesn't discuss it and he chooses not to discuss it here. Uh, because he's talking about sort of perfect capitalism, which is exactly the way that, well, like sort of the American board was, you would see it. They would, I think they would see that there is, they sort of believe that the, you'd have a notion of human equality, right? Uh, and he is taking their assumptions here. Yeah. Which is possibly like it did, it does miss an important aspect of the American economy in that way. And I, but I think, I think mark says talk about like primitive accumulation and stuff like that. And that's where Lennon's theory of imperialism, because one important, because Lennon sort of fleshes out this other aspect of capitalism where habitable doesn't operate according to standard rules of exchange. Yeah.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. We will get into primitive accumulation later by think sort of when you're talking about a critique of why capitalism is as awful as it is, I think primitive accumulation has to be like a very high on the list as to why that is right.

Speaker 5:

It really, it's a really bad term in that sense because to call it primitive accumulation, this is just that like it, it's only in the initial stages of capitalism. Whereas in reality, in order to resolve the contradictions emerging from the sort of normalized operation of capitalism, capitalism constantly engages in that sort of thing.

Speaker 1:

All right. Which I think David Harvey talks about in his companion to this. Um, I haven't, I actually haven't read his companion yet. I do have it. I just, I haven't had the time to actually pop into it. Yeah. When I was reading this, so couple years back I sort of just went, what I would do is just go along and then read the chapter of capital and then read the associated chapter in the companion and just go, go through. Like that's why it took me quite awhile

Speaker 5:

though.

Speaker 4:

I think it would take pretty much anybody quite a while to get through it and actually understand it because Eh, this, this shit's dense as book.

Speaker 5:

Yeah. It requires and talk to. Right. And sort of, okay, so the thing to take from this section, I think as a whole, uh, or not this, I guess this will be one section of this section, this section and part of elementary value. The things they will elicit your values are relative form is the expression of a commodity in terms of another commodity. So we're saying that if we, if we're talking about the relative form of a commodity value, we're saying that it, it's some number of some of the commodity. So like talking about the relative form of the value of the arts of linen, it's 28 for instance, 20 yards of it could be equal to one coat, right? And the equivalent form of the value of commodity isn't that case. The coat is taking that position. The value of learning is being expressed in terms of it. And then he says the two peculiarities are that its use value becomes a form of manifestation of value, right? So news value and exchange value are separate. But in this case that the, the value of the exchange value of the arts of what an is being expressed as far as the use value of the coats, right? We're saying that 20 yards of linen is one coat and the coat express itself expresses its use value. Right? And he's saying that the second peculiarity is that this, the concrete labor that went into the specific one, again, he just copied your steps, track labor, this concrete labor is manifesting itself as abstract labor because we're saying that Howard much labor specific specifically that went into the code is now the equivalent of the abstract Labor that that allows it to its peak, the linen to express yourself in terms of that. So those are basically the two what he talks about as the two poles of forms of value.

Speaker 4:

Right. And the reason why we don't talk about the, the specific concrete labor, uh, embodied within a commodity is because in an exchange environment you don't necessarily see there, there's nothing that you can point to within inherit within the objects and say, Aha, that's how much labor went into it. There is only a sort of like socially agreed upon this is how much it is worth because this is on average how much labor actually goes into it. So, so again, talking about, because you can't, it's, it's not something that is, there's no Adam within the object of the commodity that that identifies the amount of labor within it. It must, it is a, it is therefore a social relationship. It is, it is a relationship between other things and it is a relationship that is sort of endowed upon that commodity. And so that's where, that's where that abstraction comes from.

Speaker 5:

Yup. And then it continues. And the PR, that was the simple, that was the, the simple form of value. Yeah. That's, that's the part,

Speaker 4:

the elementary form of value considered as a whole. Yay. Yup. So when at the beginning of the of this chapter we said in common parlance that a commodity is both a use value and an exchange value. We were accurately speaking right,

Speaker 3:

wrong. Oh God, Mark said Mitzi is wrong about everything, all that stuff I just said, well you know all that stuff we were talking about alleged down the wrong path then simplifying it. That was the simple user stuff flying it for us. Yes. And now who's going to simplify it because obviously it wasn't simple before.

Speaker 4:

Uh, a commodity is a use value or an object of utility and a value. It manifests itself as this two fold thing that it is. As soon as it's value assumes the independent form is the form of exchange value. It never assumes this form when isolated but only one place in value or in exchange relation with another commodity of a different kind. The form or expression of the value of a commodity originates in the nature of the value and not in and not that value and its magnitude originate in the mode of their expression as an exchange of value. So again, this is, this is going back to that, that relational aspect of the commodity,

Speaker 3:

right? And he's exactly saying the foreshore economists get it backwards. Again, he's saying that the, it's the nature of value that creates the expression is valuable commodity and not the other way around. It's bourgeois economist man. They're fucking head asses. I don't understand. Head firmly inserted into a half or some type of economics theory and then here and then we immediately start dissing upon specific economists, both of the, of a mercantilist camp and of course when he calls the modern Bagman of free trade. Yeah,

Speaker 4:

her's of free trade, the enlightened free trade bagman right.

Speaker 3:

It's good. I enjoyed that. Must always remember, even when he's being incredibly serious and talking about very specific, very dense deep things, he will find a way, the shit on somebody. You can read the footnotes by the way. We're not going into the next call. Me Say I would take a really long time, which is partially why it also me a long time, cause I read all the footnotes. But if you read all the footnotes, Malthus gets like, just destroyed, refuting, absolutely deserves like Malthus at a hall. He does these get owned more? Yes. Mel says also dead for a long

Speaker 5:

time by this point. Yeah.

Speaker 3:

But nevertheless, not dead enough. Owning the Ted is necessary to produce this is grave and killed them again. Look, it's like when they, when the Catholic church tried the dead pope, like they just dug them up. It's like, okay, cool. We're going to try this dead Po. Um,

Speaker 4:

but yes, to the, to the actual text. So, uh, again, this is, this goes back to his analogy of the sugar loaf and the iron. It is, it is not to say that iron has a fixed magnitude of weight without expressing it in some other form or, uh, expressing it against something else. Or to say that the, the sugar loaf has a fixed magnitude of weight without sort of expressing that within something else. And it is in, is in that, uh, that process of like weighing two things against each other that you actually find that magnitude of value that is inherent or, or that is, Eh, embodied within one of those objects as related to the other. And, and he goes on to say that as a, a certain commodity becomes a habituated within society as the thing against which you sort of weigh or measure or express the value of against all of the things that commodity then then turns into the universal equivalent that gives sort of a fixed quantity to the value of the labor embodied within the commodity. Yup.

Speaker 5:

And so again, he sort of, so you're saying that this sort of contradiction news via an exchange of value is sort of apparent only in the commodity form, right? So just these talks about this, it express itself in the elementary form of value. He says that a close scrutiny, the expression of the value of a in terms of be containing the equation, expressing the value relation of ADB has shown us that, well then that relation, the bodily form of a figure is only as a use value, the bodily form of B only as the former aspect of value. So I might've said this backwards earlier, actually let's work as confusing, but he says, just just to be clear, this, this will, this is thinking that I'm saying is now, right. Oh, oh, proceed. Everything that I say that is, that is correct with statements that says this is correct.

Speaker 3:

Otherwise you can assume the bullshit

Speaker 5:

modern day who's valued in his sata express figures directly as a mirror use value. Well, the commodity in which that value is to be expressed figures directly as near exchange value. So we're saying that, okay, these 20 yards of linen, they are you Sally to us because we were trying to figure out how much they're worst. And we have, these are, we're talking about like the actual like yards of living that we have. How much are they worth? Well, they're worth one coat. In that case, the coat is taking only it's exchange value. And that's how we're expressing the use value of the linen in terms of its exchange value via the coach. And so he's saying that in this, the contrast container, that commodity between use value and value becomes apparent, uh, and note that by him, by calling exchange value value, what he's really doing here is that later when he says value, he's only gonna be talking about exchange value.

Speaker 1:

And then when you, okay, so, so you have this, this relation of how much is this 20 yards of linen worth? It's worth one coat. Okay. So, but how much is that worth? Well, it's, it's, it's worth 10 pounds of tea or at well how much is that worth? It's worth 40 pounds of coffee. And you basically like run down this list of, uh, like basically for every commodity that that exists, you, you find this sort of really, um, like chain of real, of equivalences relating them from, from one to the next. So a commodity is just a bunch of relations. Yeah. So, so that is essentially the value of a commodity is, is some proportional relationship essentially to this chain of literally all other commodities that exist within that society. Right. And so here we're talking about how the elementary form, which was, remember this was the easy part. It's the elementary form is now going to become the, the total form, the expanded form. Uh, that wasn't even its final form you've activated as trap card. Um, and yeah,

Speaker 5:

he says that the expression of the value quantity a in terms of any other commodity be merely distinguishes the value from the use value of a, but it is still far from expressing A's, qualitative equality in quantitative portion Audi to all commodities. He says the elementary for value is a mere germ, which was to undergo a series of metamorphosis before it can ripen into the price form. So let's go into the price form. The expanded relative form of value, the value of a single commodity. The linen, for example, is now expressed in terms of numberless other elements of the world of commodities.

Speaker 1:

Thank you. A whole new world to God full of commodities. I think, I think the amount of like just silly references that we're making here is absolutely appropriate to this book. As an aside, I just want to note that. I mean, absolutely. I mean otherwise it's going to be three parts dry and two parts is, it's a slow, he's going to be,

Speaker 5:

no, we're not going to podcasts getting wet. Is that Oh god, no, no, no, no. You're not going there. I'm sorry. Everyone. We're not going, huh. Marks for all these references. That's it. That's all. Yeah. Footnotes here are making a bunch of our persist and stuff. Yes. Um, yeah, but let's talk about money. Uh, well, not yet. Not yet. Well, let's not here to tell you. Give it a minute. Let's prepare to talk about money. Every other commodity now becomes a mirror of the linens value. It is dust for the first time. It is though you showed itself in its true light as a constellation of undifferentiated human labor. Uh, he's saying that basically the lever to they, it makes the linen is going to be equal to every other kind of human labor and all these commodities are going to realize some kind of human labor. Yeah. And social relation with a whole world of commodities. Yeah.

Speaker 4:

Yup. Which is sort of like the logical conclusion of if you have all of these commodities that you are expressing a relationship of one to the next to the next, then that's, that's sort of like the natural conclusion that comes out of it, that there is, is within a single commodity and an undifferentiated unit of of labor or or some quantity of units of labor that are embodied with it, which are equivalent across every commodity.

Speaker 5:

Great. And here he's going to, is going to go back to the thing that you said, a boardwalk economists earlier and he says, look, he says that when we looked at just eliminate and the coat, we might say that this is an accident volition, that he just happens to be, that a particular exchange of Lillian to coats happens to be the 20 yards of linen or equal to one coat. But he says that when we look at all of them, we realized that the value of the linen remains an altered, whether it's requested coats, coffee or iron or whatever we used to say, whatever he says, and numberless different commodities. And he says it becomes plain that it is not the exchange of commodities are striking the magnitude of the rallies. But on the contrary, the magnitude of the value controls the, their exchange abortions. So you saying that again, essentially saying that when you have to look at production, not exchange because he's saying that exchange is going to be regulated by how we produce things, not the other way around. Uh, at that. And that's sort of like the beginning of that argument, which is going to be really important later. Yup. Uh, which I think brings us to get, what are we, we're on, we're on section two of something be to total or expanded foreign value. And now we're on to particular equivalent forum, which is only a paragraph, which is only like a few sentences. I think we talked basically talking about this so we can move on to them. That part,

Speaker 4:

yeah. The interdependent development to the relative form of value in the equivalent form. Could we,

Speaker 5:

did we just talk about that? Is that what we're on? No, no, no. We're on there. So on the total forum, we're on defects of the total or expanded form of value. Uh, so what's the, what's the problem with this sort of description of value when we talk about it? Like, okay, now we're going to relate. Every limited, every single commodity exists. Well, it's, it's infinite, right? So like we have to think of every possible a commodity and it's just, we can't really write it out and mark doesn't, that's why he does, etc. Or an Fsi as it's put here, which I'm not sure what that is an acronym for.

Speaker 1:

Uh, it, it's et cetera. It's, it's a, an anachronistic way to write it that is no longer common.

Speaker 5:

I see. So he says it in a second place is in many colored mosaic of disparate and independent expressions of value. So the defects of the expanded relative value form are reflected in the corresponding equivalent for him. So we're just talking about, again, we have the same problems, the equivalent form, because we're talking about a bunch of different equivalent forms, the specific concrete useful kind of labor and Barney and each particular equipment is presented only as a particular kind of labor and therefore not as an exhausted, it wasn't representative of human labor generally. So we still haven't reached that sort of abstract human labor. We're still on like, okay, well here's how we're going to relate this specific form of labor that creates lemon, this position formally with the crates, code specific farm labor that creates coal or iron whenever. But we're not, we still haven't reached the full abstraction. It's still not it's final form.

Speaker 1:

Right. Which is, which is where we started actually getting into, um, you know, I think that our, the, the logical argument is that for ease of use, you as an a society sort of have this single commodity or a small subset of commodities, which you then use as a measurement against which all other commodities are readily and immediately exchanged.

Speaker 5:

All right, so now we're going onto the general form and now the equation, it looks different. Now we have every commodity that exists on the left, everything go commodity in the university. It's a very simple equation. 10 pounds, a t, 40 pounds of coffee, one quarter of course, the goal, half a ton of iron. That's the only thing is that those, sorry, those are the six things. Anything else? Sorry. The world is made of these six things and nothing else. Everything changed when the coat nation attack.

Speaker 1:

Yes. And all of those. Jesus, yes. And all of those are equal to 20 yards of Linden. Uh, because this is a society in which linen is currency.

Speaker 5:

All commodities now express their value in an elementary for them because in a single commodity with unity, because in one, in the save go oddity. So we're saying that we still have this elementary form because we're only talking about relating the one exact commodity and it's United because we're really to all of them to the same commodity. And so it's elementary and the same for all. Therefore general. So the first, the forms a and B, so this is talking about the forms day here. This, there's a lot of shorthand here. Math class, if you remember a, that was the elementary form. That was the first thing where there are only two things. So that furnished such equations is the following. And so this form occurs only in the first beginning when the productivity versus basically name. This is the form. This is like just this capitalism is starting when the parts, the Labor are converted in the commodities by accident. Atlantic regional exchange. So there's no systematic exchange, there's just some exchange that happens. Now we have the second form, right? So now we're talking about exchanging all commodities. We're just exchanging this and that and we're seeing blood in fur coats and for iron and iron fur coats and whatever. Right? And that's, that's better because now we're talking about all commodity. If on the other hand, we're still not talking about anything generally because we're just talking about now we're just talking about instead of taking lit into coast, talking about London and Ireland to coats and iron and like all to just talking about a bunch of relations of two, but now this third and lastly developed form. It's the final form, expresses the value of the whole world commodity in terms of a single commodity set apart for the purpose, namely the linen. And that's represents to us their values by means of their quality. With linen, the value every commodity is now by being equated to linen, not only differentiated from its own use value, but from all of their use values generally. And is by that very fact, expresses that which is common to all commodities. So we've now taken little second of all use values. So the values are gone. Yay, we got rid of him. Things are no longer useful. So yes, the general form of value results from the joint action of the whole world of commodities. A commodity can acquire a general expression of his value only by all other commodities expressing their values in the same equivalent. So we could only get a general expression of commodities value if we're also stressing all other commodities in the same general value is this becomes evident since the existence of commodity has valleys is purely social, the social exists, it can be expressed by the totality of their social relations alone. And consequently the form of the barrel, you must be a socially recognized form. Right. So now he's saying again that we have to recognize that has to be some kind of agreed. There has to be some, well not necessarily agreed upon. I mean agreed is sort of a term that's too simple, but basically it has to be a socially recognized way to express the value of things. And that's sort of what we're getting into. The universal equivalent, the general form of relative value,

Speaker 4:

embracing the whole world of commodities converts the single commodity that is excluded from the rest and may play the part of equivalent here, the linen into the universal equivalent, the bodily form of the linen is now the form assumed in common by all values in commodities.

Speaker 5:

All values of all commodities. Yeah. The substance of linen becomes a visible, incarnated. This is, it gets kind of weird. The social sector source every time. Yep. Yeah. He goes into like weird Voodoo Shit. I mean money is basically like what's it made of?

Speaker 1:

Uh, it's not even like what's a US dollar made out of ones and Zeros. Well, okay, Mike dollars, US dollars is made out of faith and Pixie dust as far as I can tell.

Speaker 5:

Well look what, what, what is the, the note made out of the actual physical note is made.

Speaker 1:

Oh Shit. Oh my gosh. Most make note to make them copper paper. But sometimes it makes me have led in. There we go. God dammit. God dammit. Your marks marks. What's the right. All dollars are blighted, money is

Speaker 5:

weaving, which is the Labor of certain private individuals producing a particular article, Lidin acquires and consequences, social character. So he's saying that now, whatever you know or universal equivalent is that commodity is producing it. It's still longer specifically or but now actually social labor, abstract labor. And so this is the general value form, which represents all products of laborers. Miracle undulations of undifferentiated human labor shows by its very structure that it is a social resume or the world of commodities. So we finally reached it and we finally understand how the, how to we finally reach abstract labor and we've succeeded and one but wait, but wait, there's still money to

Speaker 1:

um, transition from the general form of value to the money for him.

Speaker 5:

Yes. Uh, although wait, there's this other section. What's in this section? The interdependent and development of the relative for value end of the equivalent for him. I don't have any

Speaker 1:

thing to highlight in this section. I thought he was just basically sort of, um, re-explain. Amazing. Yeah. And summarizing.

Speaker 5:

Yeah. All right. Back to money. Right. Replaying this integrity yet read. Anyway, read this next section two of this far. If you want to just get a quick summary of everything that he just explained to you. Yes. And now the money,

Speaker 1:

the universal equivalent form is a form of value in general. It can therefore be assumed by any commodity. On the other hand, if a commodity be found to have assumed the universal equivalent form, this is only because, and in so far as it as it has been excluded from the rest of all other commodities as their equivalent and that by their own act, which I had to read that sentence a couple of times to kind of make sense of it.

Speaker 5:

So basically the universal colon as a special commodity and can't just be exchanged

Speaker 1:

same way, right? It's sort of, uh, by social convention gets set kind of apart from the, the rest of the universe of and becomes

Speaker 4:

a, a special thing that as it's special properties essentially embodies that universal abstracted human labor that is equivalent or that is found within all commodities. But then there's this as the, as the universal equivalent it is sort of generally agreed upon. Okay. So this little thing that I'm holding, this piece of linen, this represents x units of value, x units of, of labor time and therefore can be exchanged with anything else at sort of like fixed, um, fixed exchange rates.

Speaker 5:

Yup. So basically said to be gold. For example, here he says that, okay, it's cold because probably it's cold. Uh, although apparently Islam and

Speaker 3:

it was right the first time you got here right the first time. Okay. So let's assume that isn't Lennon like the real truth gold like it, like it was considered my thought. He's, you know, gold standard and Shit. Okay. So 20 yards of linen, one coat, 10 pounds, 30 40 pounds of coffee, one quarter of corn to ounces, gold, half a ton of iron and whatever other commodity all into a pot and you stir it and you get two ounces of gold.

Speaker 4:

Yeah. In passing from form a to form B, and from the ladder to form, see that changes are fundamental. On the other hand, there is no difference between forms c and d except that in the ladder gold has assumed the equivalent form in the place of linen, which go back to Lynn and you're right, the first time gold gold is informed d what linen was informed. See the universal equivalent, the progress consists in this alone that the character of direct and universal exchange ability, in other words, that the universal equivalent form has now by social custom becomes finally identified with the substance gold. So gold is money now. Yay.

Speaker 3:

Hey, we've accomplished it.

Speaker 5:

So basically all these four forms, he's just tried to explain to you how exchange works under capitalism. And he goes through it and it's very systematic way and it seems to be confusing at first, but I think once you kind of get to the end, it all starts to like make sense. Like, Oh yeah. So he started with two and then he started saying that, okay, well what if we take those two and we do a bunch of equations those too. Okay. But he's saying, well, actually, if you're doing that, then we can just move the equations around. So that we're saying that everything is equivalent to one thing. And then he says, well, now that's money. And so everything kind of just, it sort of, it sort of follows and what are you saying is it's sort of the, the bourgeois economist are stuck on the first floor of, and they're like, oh

Speaker 1:

look, this, this much is on and has this much code. So it's, that's, that, that, that just must be what it is. But he's saying that we'll know because actually it's, it's a, it's an abstraction. It's not just an accident that, that much linen is that is was worth that many coats.

Speaker 4:

Yeah. So I mean, he's, he's basically says that, you know, it's money with reference to other commodities only because it previously with reference to them, uh, it was previously with reference to them, a simple commodity, um, like again, sort of like taking that, that commodity that you could exchange for another commodity because it had labor embodied within it. And then sort of like taking that commodity and going, okay, so I can exchange it for this and that and that and that and oh look, I can exchange it for literally everything. So I'm just going to use that as the basis of against which everything else is measured.

Speaker 3:

Yup.

Speaker 4:

So we are, um, uh, we're, we're a little bit past the hour here and a section. So that wraps, that pretty much wraps up section three. So we've gotten through, we've gone through the first three sections of chapter one and so next up is going to be a section for the fetishism of commodities and the secret there of,

Speaker 1:

so today, the next day to find out the secret, they're out there. They are under the exchange form, the secrets of fetishism.

Speaker 4:

Aw.

Speaker 1:

Oh dear God. What will capitalist extract the surplus value find out next day. So, um, do we want to just sort of like a wrap it up here if someone wants to like quickly run over the things that we were supposedly have learned so far.

Speaker 3:

All right. So we've basically learned what commodities are, what, how they're basically construct themselves. We've learned the definitions of different forms of value. And we have also learned how we can take from simple commodity, from the simple commodity form Tor to, you know, to its logical conclusion as money, as things we exchange in the form of money, which, and his time was gold. And then to our time is secretly Lennon. Yup.

Speaker 1:

Yup. Linen rules, everything around me. And remember, coats are not exchanged for coats.

Speaker 3:

Always remember.

Speaker 1:

So remember, comrades, get that linen for yourself from the chains cause you have nothing to lose or something. I don't know. Eventually this is going to actually be an actual outro, but um, it's not right now.