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5. The Process of Exchange: Historical Time and Logical Time

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Chapter Summary

The coexistence of historical and logical temporality is itself a logical necessity, and, consequently, its analysis is equally necessary for understanding the first part of Capital. For purposes of simplification, this chapter examines the two temporalities separately. Marx distinguishes three historical stages in the development of the commodity: a stage during which use values become occasionally and accidentally commodities through and in the exchange process; a stage during which the market exchange of labour products becomes a social habit and use values are produced for the market; and finally, a stage where the commodity only becomes intelligible as a part of a living organism. Commodities are the products of labour, and labour is analysed at great length. They are the unity of value and use-value. From the first pages of Capital, Marx not only presents the 'surface', but also reflects on its foundation (abstract labour, and such like).

Keywords: Capital; exchange process; historical temporality; labour products; logical temporality

10.1163/9789004256262_008
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