Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Capital: Volume 1, Chapter 1 by Karl Marx

Chapter 1: The Commodity

- The two factors of the commodity: use-value and value (substance/magnitude of value)
  1. "an external object, a thing which through its qualities satisfies human needs of whatever kind." - 125
  2. "It is therefore the physical body of the commodity itself...which is the use-value or useful thing." - 126
  3. exchange value: "the proportion, in which use-values of one kind exchange for use-values of another kind." - 126
  4. "the exchange relation of commodities is characterized precisely by its abstraction from their use-values." -127
  5. use value: change in quality exchange-value: change in quantity
  6. "Let us now look at the residue of the products of labour. There is nothing left of them in each case but the same phantom-like objectivity; they are merely congealed quantities of homogeneous human labour" - 128
  7. "The common factor in the exchange relation, or in the exchange-value of the commodity, is therefore its value." - 128
  8. magnitude of value: "the quantity of the 'value-forming substance', the labour, contained in the article." - 129
  9. commodities produces in the same time have the same value - 130
  10. productivity up, labor time down, value down - 131
  11. "A thing can be a use-value without being a value." - "Air, virgin soil, natural meadows, unplanted forests, etc." - 131
- The dual character of the labour embodied in commodities
  1. use-values must differ to "confront each other as commodities" for exchange; ex. linen and coat - 132
  2. "The totality of heterogeneous use-values or physical commodities reflects a totality of similarly heterogeneous forms of useful labour, which differ in order, genus, species and variety: in short, a social division of labour." - 132
  3. " the creator of a condition of human existence which is independent of all forms of society; it is an eternal natural necessity which mediates the metabolism between man and nature" - 133
  4. "the same change in productivity which increases the fruitfulness of labour, and therefore the amount of use-values produced by it, also brings about a reduction in the value of this increased total amount" - 137
- The value-form, or exchange-value
  1. "The relative form of value and the equivalent form are two inseparable moments, which belong to and mutually condition each other; but, at the same time, they are mutually exclusive or opposed extremes; i.e. poles of the expression of value." - 139-40
  2. "Human labour-power in its fluid state, or human labour, creates value but is not itself value."; labor --coagulation--> object = value - 142
  3. to be valued, objects require a value-relation with a different commodity; alone, they have only use-value
  4. use-value: linen not= coat; value: linen = coat - 143
  5. relative value: "value of commodity A [linen], thus expressed in the use-value of commodity B [coat]" - 144
  6. "The relative value of a commodity may vary, although its value remains constant. Its relative value may remain constant, although its value varies" - 146
  7. equivalent form: "The commodity linen brings to view its own existence as a value through the fact that the coat can be equated with the linen although it has not assumed a form of value distinct from its own physical form."; "the form in which it is directly exchangeable with other commodities." - 147; iron as a measure of weight, the body of the coat as a measure of value alone - 149
  8. "The secret of the expression of value, namely the equality and equivalence of all kinds of labour because in so far as they are human labour in general, could not be deciphered until the concept of human equality had already acquired the permanence of a fixed popular opinion." - 152
  9. "the relative expression of value of the commodity is incomplete, because the series of its representations never comes to an end." - 156
  10. expanded form of value: "when a particular product of labour, such as cattle, is no longer exceptionally, but habitually, exchanged for various other commodities." - 158
  11. currency as the ultimate equivalent form, "The general relative form of value imposes the character of universal equivalent on the linen, which is the commodity excluded, as equivalent, from the whole world of commodities...The physical form of the linen counts as the visible incarnation, the social chrysalis state, of all human labour." - 159
  12. "The simple commodity form is therefore the germ of the money-form." - 163
- The fetishism of the commodity and its secret
  1. the commodity-form "is nothing but the definite social relation between men themselves which assumes here, for them, the fantastic form of a relation between things." - 165
  2. commodity production resembling religion, "the fetishism that attaches itself to the products of labour as soon as they are produced as commodities", "the products of the human brain appear as autonomous figures endowed with a life of their own" - 165
  3. "Value, therefore, does not have its description branded on its forehead; it rather transforms every product of labour into a social hieroglyphic." - 167
  4. "The religious reflections of the real world can, in any case, vanish only when the practical relations of everyday life between man and man, and man and nature, generally present themselves to him in a transparent and rational form." - 173

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