Hi all. This is the most recent installment of my Grundrisse overview. It only covers a few pages but with a lot packed in. This overview provides one of the best foundations for understanding ‘value’, communal relations of production, and the related change in the relation between the individual and society; time, alienation – as well as a 'richer’ understanding of money.
A. Smith’s thesis that a worker has to produce a general commodity for money and exchange alongside a particular commodity for use means nothing more than that particular labor cannot be exchanged for every other particular labor, but that its general exchangeability must first be mediated and take on an objective form different from itself to be exchangeable.
Looked at in the act of production itself: individual labor is the money used to directly buy a particular product – the object of particular activity. And it is particular money that buys this specific product. To be general it would not be particular, but general labor from the onset and posited as a link in general production; but, on this presupposition, it would not be exchange that gave labor its general character, but its communal character would determine the distribution of products. And the communal character of production would make the product general and communal from the onset. (Here) exchange that originally takes place in production – which would not be an exchange of exchange values but activities determined by communal needs/ purposes – would include the participation of the individual in the communal world of production from the onset. On the basis of exchange, labor is posited as general only via exchange; but, on the communal foundation, it would be posited as such before exchange, and the exchange of products would not be the medium by which the participation of the individual in general production is mediated. However, mediation must take place.
In the first case – proceeding from independent, individual production – no matter how much individual (p. 171) productions determine and modify each other post festum, through the exchange of commodities/ exchange value and money. In the second case, the presupposition itself is mediated, i.e., communal production, communality is presupposed as the basis of production. The labor of the individual is posited at the onset as social labor. Therefore, whatever the material form of the product created, labor is not a specific, particular product, but a specific share of the communal product. A worker has no particular product to exchange and the product is not exchange value. The product does not have to be transposed to a particular form to attain a general (and social) character for the individual. Instead of a division of labor created by exchange and exchange value, there would be an organization of labor whose consequences would be the participation of the individual in communal consumption.
In the first case, the social character is posited post festum with the elevation of products to exchange values and exchange of these exchange values. In the second case, the social character of production is presupposed and consumption is not mediated by exchange by mutually independent labors or products of labor. Instead, it is mediated by the social conditions of production in which the individual is active; and by those who want to determine that labor is directly general labor and, therefore, negating the conditions in which labor is made into money and exchange values and under which it depends on private exchange. This demand can only be satisfied under conditions where it can no longer be raised (revolution: post festum!) Labor based on exchange values presupposes that neither individuals nor their products are directly general, that the product attains this form by passing through an objective form by means of money – distinct from itself.
On the basis of communal production, time remains essential. The less time society spends on producing wheat, cattle, etc., the more time it has for other production – material or mental. Just as an individual’s development, enjoyment (p. 172), and activity depends on economization of time, society has to distribute its time in a purposeful way to achieve production adequate to its overall needs. The economy of time and planned distribution of labor is thus the first economic law based on communal production; becoming law to an even higher degree. However, this is different from measuring exchange values – labor and products – by labor time. The labor of individuals in the same branch of work with various kinds of work are different quantitatively and qualitatively. But solely quantitative differences presuppose an identity of their qualities. Hence, quantitative measures of labor presuppose equivalence and identity of quality (p. 173).