Money, Labor, and Logic: a critical comparison

The article seeks to promote a scholarly debate between the temporal single-system interpretation of Marx and the Value-Form school. Since they both recognize the standards required of constructive debate and seek a proper understanding of Marx’s actual theory, such a debate promises to be productive. Michael Heinrich’s argument, representative of the Value-Form school, is that Marx’s derivation of abstract labor, value, and money is “ambivalent” and should be replaced by superior derivations of these categories. I argue that the Value-Form school’s proposed replacements exhibit a tendency to eliminate contradiction from value theory. In particular, the idea that the labor in a commodity is abstract only after the commodity is sold gives rise to a quietist tendency. It confuses successful sale with the formation of a price. This stems from an ambivalence attitude towards general equilibrium theory, leading to an underestimation of the devastating effect of von Bortkiewicz’s rewriting of Marx.

It is a prepublication version of ‘Money, Labor, and Logic: A critical comparison’, published in Critique of Political Economy. Please cite as Freeman, A. 2011. ‘Money, Labor, and Logic: A critical comparison’, Critique of Political Economy No. 1. 152-175.