Review Questions for Chapter One, Volume One of Capital

Submitted by libcom on August 10, 2005

RCP, chap 3 Concepts for Review use-value value reproduction of LP quality quantity LP - M - C substance of value abstract labor LP - M - MS...P...LP* measure of value SNLT "free" time price disposable time direct appropriation "self-reduction" of prices C - M dead time M - C labor power Quashees use value of food use value of energy living time dialectic of quant. & qual. Economism tension of labor power malleable labor homogeneity of labor collective worker wage hierarchy division of labor phlogiston class composition political recomposition working class unity decomposition

Questions for Review 1. How can a commodity have both use value and exchange value in the real world? What is the social process which is required for these two aspects to be realized? *2. Give a class analysis of use-value and exchange-value. What class perspectives do these two concepts represent? How can a given commodity have different use values according to the class perspective, illustrate with food, energy and labor power.

3. Explain the logical priority of quality over quantity.

*4. Evaluate the argument that the working class perspective is more centrally one of quality as opposed to quantity -and that the reverse is true for capital.

5. How can quantitative changes give rise to qualitative changes?

6. What do you think of the old distinction between economistic struggles versus political struggles, and what do you think of my arguments against that distinction?

7. Why cannot capitalism be abolished by beheading all the capitalists? How does this constitute an argument against terrorism?

*8. Explain Marx's derivation of "abstract labor." Then explain what Marx felt was the real world social processes that made the concept meaningful.

*9. Discuss the interrelationship between the homogeneity and the heterogeneity of labor in the class struggle. What does this have to do with the old strategy of "divide and conquer?" Illustrate.

*10. Explain and illustrate the dialectic of political recomposition and decomposition. How are these concepts dynamic ones while "class composition" is static?

11. What do you think of my comments on the implications of the analysis of abstract labor for working class organization and for working class "unity"?

*12. What is a "phlogiston" theory of value? Why do I reject that kind of interpretation?

13. Explain the meaning of "socially necessary" labor time. Why does it involve an averaging process? Why would anyone want to actually calculate such values?

14. What does Marx's discussion of the collective worker tell us about the theory of value?

15. How does capital carry out a real world social averaging through its allocation of resources?

16. What is time? Is it a measure devoid of content? Counterpose living time and dead time and give them a class analysis.

17. Who were the Quashees and what was it about them that was to typical of the working class and so outrageous to capital?

18. Sketch the struggle over time within capitalism. What is included? What are the terrains of conflict? What has been the tendency of resolution over the last 80 years?

19. What is the "economic paradox" of technological change and the growing technical ability to convert work time into disposable time? What are the two class perspectives on this issue?

20. What is the phenomenon the symbols: LP - M - C(MS) ... P... LP* are designed to represent? Does this formulation make sense to you? Explain why if it does not.

*21. Describe the complexities of "free time." How do you know whether you are really using your time for yourself or just working at the re-creation of your labor power?

RCP, chap 4 Concepts for Review useful labor abstract labor division of useful labor productivity simple or average labor

Questions for Review *1. What does it mean to say that abstract labor is "crafted" out of useful labor? *2. Why can one not simply solve the problem of work by eliminating abstract labor while preserving useful labor? Why does a qualitative transformation of labor depend upon its quantitative reduction?

3. If useful labor includes the development of science and technology, then what must we say about the role of the later in abstract labor and capitalist command?

*4. Is it possible to have a change in the productivity of abstract labor? If not, why not? Explain.

5. Explain what happens to the per unit value of output if labor productivity doubles while the intensity and duration of labor remains the same.

6. How does "relative surplus value" work as a strategy through which the capitalists can both give more to the workers and get more for themselves?

7. How can the relative surplus value strategy be ruptured?

RCP, chap 5 Concepts for Review exchange value form of value syllogistic mediation simple form relative form universal equivalent equivalent form contradiction money form of value reflexive mediation expanded form price form totality bad infinity money general form of value good infinity fetishism

Questions for Review 1. How did development economist W. A. Lewis argue that capital could use money to transfer value to itself from the working class? *2. Explain how inflation involves the devaluation of money.

3. How did the 2nd International debate between the social democrats and the bolsheviks focus on form to the exclusion of content? How has the Leninist Party frozen the discussion of form?

4. Explain the logic of the presentation of the four stages of the form of value. How is this logic clarified by reading the order of presentation backwards? In what sense can chapter one be read as an essay on money?

5. Why is the simple form, an "accidental" form? Why is it only a partial representation of the form of value?

6. Why is the expression xA = yB not an equation and only reversible in a special sense?

7. What makes a commodity an "equivalent"? How does it express the value of another commodity?

8. How do we have both an opposition and a unity in the simple form? What makes this a contradictory relationship?

9. Discuss the role of money when the value it expresses is that of labor power. What is the meaning of equivalent in this case? How does it express the class relation?

*10. What is meant by "reflexive mediation"? Give an example within the context of Marx's analysis of value and then give an example from personal relations and from class relations.

*11. What is Marx's concept of fetishism? What is a fetish? How is fetishism expressed more vividly in the equivalent form?

12. What are the "deficiencies" of the simple form? In particular how is it that the simple form of value fails to provide an adequate expression for the totalizing quality of money and value?

13. In what way does the expanded form express the infinity of capital? In what sense is that a "bad" infinity?

14. Give a class analysis of infinity. That is to say, discuss the concepts of infinity appropriate to the capitalist class and to the working class.

15. Explain the logic of the inversion of the expanded form of value into the general form of value.

16. What aspect of value remains unexpressed in the expanded form?

17. How does the appearance of a universal equivalent in the general form of value, remedy the shortcoming of the expanded form?

*18. Discuss the relationship known as syllogistic mediation. Discuss this in relation to commodities and in relation to sectors of the working class and capital.

19. What do you think of the application of the concept of syllogistic mediation to the relations among professors, students and administrators? If you don't find the analysis satisfactory, how would you correct it?

*20. What is the impact of class struggle on the mediations of capitalism? How can they be used? How can they be broken? How can they be bypassed?

21. What is the difference between the general form of value and the money form? List all the characteristics of the money form, drawing on previous discussions of the other forms. Illustrate each of these characteristics with respect to money.

22. How is money the "quintessential expression" of the commodity form? What does this have to do with the importance of the wage?

23. What is the relationship between the money form and the price form? What is a price? What is a price in Marxian value terms?

24. How does money tie commodities into the capitalist world -even if the mode of their production is not obviously capitalist?

*25. Using Marx's analysis of money and applying it to the wage, give an analysis of what the wage tells you about the relationship between labor power and capital.

26. Who are the unwaged? Why is it important to define them in terms of the wage? How do they define themselves independently of it?

27. What happens to prices if it suddenly becomes cheaper to mine/acquire gold and gold is being used as a commodity money? Explain.

28. How does the existence of paper as opposed to gold money facilitate the capitalist manipulation of inflation and thus of the real wage?

29. How is gold/money a fetish? Are you satisfied with the analysis given of the social relationships embodied in money?

30. In terms of the analysis of money where would you go from here? What would you want to investigate and how might you apply a class analysis in that investigation?