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Value As Quantity

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Chapter Summary

This chapter discusses the most paradoxical aspect of Marx’s project. It is the most contested, in that, even among Marxists, the operational character of the mathematical figures of surplus-value has always been in question. But also the most unavoidable, since an explicit intent runs through Capital from start to finish, that of constituting a science in the modern sense of the term, constructing a homogeneous space in which magnitudes are considered and calculation is possible. The chapter examines why the category of ‘labour-value’, far from being the touchstone of a scientistic interpretation of Marx. Formally, ‘specialisation’ is thus given the place that ‘skill’, in the sense of dexterity occupied in the first definition of socially necessary labour-time in Capital, in the group skill/intensity/productivity. The question of intensity seems to be the one where the mastery of quantity is most readily and completely effected.

Keywords: labour-value; Marx’s project; mathematical figures; surplus-value



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