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Reading Group on I.I. Rubin’s “Essays on Marx’s Theory of Value”

Organizing Committee:

In the hopes of facilitating subsequent discussions/readings on value-form theory, and more specifically the Wertkritik of Krisis, Exit!, Anselm Jappe, Norbert Trenkle, Robert Kurz, and other value criticism(s), we propose starting first with the basics. Isaak Illich Rubin’s seminal book, “Essays on Marx's Theory of Value” is a foundational piece of writing for the value-form approach to Marxist theory. According to Fredy Perlman’s introduction, “Rubin’s book is a comprehensive, tightly argued exposition of the core of Marx’s work, the theory of commodity fetishism and the theory of value. Rubin clarifies misconceptions which have resulted, and still result, from superficial readings and evasive treatments of Marx’s work. Marx’s principal aim was not to study scarcity, or to explain price, or to allocate resources, but to analyze how the working activity of people is regulated in a capitalist economy. The subject of the analysis is a determined social structure, a particular culture, namely commodity-capitalism, a social form of economy in which the relations among people are not regulated directly, but through things. Consequently, ‘the specific character of economic theory as a science which deals with the commodity capitalist economy lies precisely in the fact that it deals with production relations which acquire material forms.’” No “teacher” – so come prepared with questions and positions to discuss and debate. Meeting 1: a. Introduction: Commodity Fetishism by Freddy Perlman Meeting 2: a. Introduction –I.I. Rubin b. Chapter One. Objective Basis of Commodity Fetishism c. Chapter Two. The Production Process and its Social Form d. Chapter Three. Reification of Production Relations among People and Personification of Things Meeting 3: a. Chapter Four. Thing and Social Function (Form) b. Chapter Five. Production Relations and Material Categories c. Chapter Six. Struve on the Theory of Commodity Fetishism d. Chapter Seven. Marx's Development of the Theory of Fetishism Meeting 4: a. Chapter Eight. Basic Characteristics of Marx's Theory of Value b. Chapter Nine. Value as the Regulator of Production c. Chapter Ten. Equality of Commodity Producers and Equality of Commodities Meeting 5: a. Chapter Eleven. Equality of Commodities and Equality of Labor b. Chapter Twelve. Content and Form of Value c. Chapter Thirteen. Social Labor Meeting 6: a. Chapter Fourteen. Abstract Labor b. Chapter Fifteen. Qualified Labor c. Chapter Sixteen. Socially-Necessary Labor Meeting 7: a. Chapter Seventeen. Value and Social Need Meeting 8: a. Chapter Eighteen. Value and Production Price Meeting 9: a. Chapter Nineteen. Productive Labor

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