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By Ben Fine (auth.)

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Example text

This contrasts with most present-day labour relations, where the dull compulsion of economic relations and their development through tradition, education and habit induces the working class to look upon the conditions of the capitalist mode of production as self-evident. Force is rarely used now, because labour is effectively tied to capital and appears as if it always has been and always will be. The capitalist first appears as a farmer and is long in embryonic form. In Britain eapitalists came to the fore through the coincidence of favourable economic conditions - the discovery and hoarding of precious metals, and low rent and wages.

20 Capital and Exploitation 21 Secondly the money obtained is exchanged for the desired commodity, M-C. Commodities are advanced for money in order to purchase different commodities, and this can be represented by C-M-C, the circulation of commodities. We denote the two extremes of the circulation by C because they are in commodity form and they have the same value, not because they are the same thing. Indeed they cannot be the same thing, otherwise the whole purpose of the exchange is defeated.

As a mental exercise this appears to be faultless, but the fatal flaw for deer and beaver alike is that neither is a commodity, and there would be no systematic exchange in the society under consideration. Hunters would simply go out and catch whatever they required. In this way we can see that Smith has been constructing a labour theory of value in much the same way as in the algebraic exercises presented earlier. Value is taken to be a mental construct independent of the society under consideration.

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