Sunday, 4 December 2016

Capital III, Chapter 51 - Part 7

Marx once more makes clear that value exists in all societies, but merely assumes different forms in different modes of production. And, it is the specific nature of capitalist production and exchange, which determines the way that The Law of Value thereby appears in the form of prices of production, as opposed to its expression under other modes of production.

“In this entirely specific form of value, labour prevails on the one hand solely as social labour; on the other hand, the distribution of this social labour and the mutual supplementing and interchanging of its products, the subordination under, and introduction into, the social mechanism, are left to the accidental and mutually nullifying motives of individual capitalists. Since these latter confront one another only as commodity-owners, and everyone seeks to sell his commodity as dearly as possible (apparently even guided in the regulation of production itself solely by his own free will), the inner law enforces itself only through their competition, their mutual pressure upon each other, whereby the deviations are mutually cancelled. Only as an inner law, vis-à-vis the individual agents, as a blind law of Nature, does the law of value exert its influence here and maintain the social equilibrium of production amidst its accidental fluctuations.” (p 880)

This is in contrast to other modes of production, where the Law of Value operates directly and openly. In the primitive communist societies, it operates as the commune allocates its limited social labour-time, so as to consciously maximise its production of use values.

The peasant producer operates on the same basis in respect of their own direct production, and in respect of their production of commodities, these are again exchanged on the basis of their value, so the peasant organises their commodity production so as to maximise this value, rather than to maximise profit.

The same is true under communism, which consciously allocates available social labour-time so as to maximise the production of use values.

“... after the abolition of the capitalist mode of production, but still retaining social production, the determination of value continues to prevail in the sense that the regulation of labour-time and the distribution of social labour among the various production groups, ultimately the book-keeping encompassing all this, become more essential than ever.” (Chapter 49, p 851)

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