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Economic Manuscripts: The Value-Form by Karl Marx
§3. The equivalent form 同等の形式
(a) The form of immediate exchangeability.
As values all commodities are expressions of the same unit, of human labour, which count equally and are replaceable or substitutable for one another. Hence a commodity is only exchangeable with another commodity insofar as it possesses a form in which it appears as value. A body of the commodity is immediately exchangeable with another commodity insofar as its immediate form i.e. its own bodily or natural form, represents (vorstellt) value with regard to another commodity or counts as value-form (Wertgestalt). This property is possessed by the coat in the value-relation of the linen to the coat. The value of the linen would otherwise not be expressible in the thing which is the coat. Therefore that a commodity has equivalent form at all, means just this. Through its place in the value-expression its own natural form counts as the value-form for another commodity or it possesses the form of immediate exchangeability with another commodity. Therefore it does not need to take on (annehmen) a form different from its immediate natural form in order to appear as value for another commodity, to count as value and to act on it as value (auf sie als Wert zu wirken).
(c) The peculiarities (Eigentümlichkeiten) of the equivalent form
First peculiarity of the equivalent form: use-value becomes the form of appearance of its opposite, of value.
The natural form of the commodity becomes the value-form. But, nota bene, this quid pro quo occurs for a commodity B (coat or wheat or iron, etc.) only within the value-relation to it, into which any other commodity A (linen, etc) enters, and only within this relation. In itself, considered in isolation, the coat, e.g., is only a useful thing, a use-value, just like the linen, and hence its coat-form is only the form of use-value (ist nur Form von Gebrauchswert) or natural form of a definite type of commodity. But since no commodity can relate to itself as equivalent and therefore also cannot make its own natural hide an expression of its own value, it must relate itself to another commodity as equivalent or make the natural hide of the body of another commodity its own value-form.
それ自体では、孤立していると見なされますが、コートは、リネンと同じように、有用なもの、つまり使用価値に過ぎません。そのため、そのコートフォームは使用価値の形式にすぎません（Form von Gebrauchswert） 明確なタイプで商品の自然的形態なのです。 しかし、商品はそれ自体に相当するものではなく、それゆえ自らの自然の秘密を独自の価値形態で隠すことはできないので、他の商品と同等のものとしてそれを関連付けることで、別の商品の身体の自然の隠れ場所を、独自の価値形態にしなければならない。
This may be illustrated by the example of a measure, which is predicable of the bodies of commodities as bodies (den Warenkörpern als Warenkörpern zukommt) i.e. as use-values. A sugar-loaf, qua body (weil Körper), is heavy and hence has weight, but one cannot tell the weight of a sugar-loaf by looking or feeling (man kann keinen Zuckerhut seine Schwere ansehn oder anfühlen). Now we take different pieces of iron whose weight has been previously determined. The bodily form of the iron considered in itself is just as little the form of appearance of weight as that of the sugar-loaf. However in order to express the sugar-loaf as heaviness or weight, we put it into a weight-relation with iron. In this relation the iron counts as a body, which represents nothing but heaviness or weight. Hence quantities of iron serve as the measure of the weight of sugar and represent, with regard to the body of sugar, merely the form of heaviness (blosse Schweregestalt), form of appearance of heaviness. Iron plays this role only within the relation in which the sugar, or some other body whose weight is to be found, enters. Were both things not heavy they could not enter into this relation and hence the one could not serve as the expression of the weight of the other. If we throw both on the scale pan, we see in fact that they are, as weight, the same and hence in a definite proportion also of the same weight. Just as here the body of the iron represents, with regard to the sugar-loaf, simply heaviness, so in our expression of value the body of the coat represents, with regard to the linen, simply value.
b) Second peculiarity of the equivalent form: concrete labour becomes the form of appearance of its opposite, abstract human labour
The coat counts in the expression of the value of the linen as the value-body, hence its bodily or natural form as value-form, i.e. therefore as embodiment of undifferentiated human labour, human labour as such (schlechthin). But the labour by which the useful thing which is the coat is made and by which it acquires a definite form, is not abstract human labour, human labour as such, but a definite useful, concrete type of labour ? the labour of tailoring. The simple relative value-form requires (erheischt) that the value of a commodity, linen, for example, is expressed only in one single other type of commodity. Which the other type of commodity is, is however, for the simple value-form, completely irrelevant. Instead of the commodity-type ‘coat’ the value of the linen could have been expressed in wheat, or instead of wheat, in iron, etc. But whether in coat, wheat or iron, in every case the equivalent of linen counts as the body of value with regard to the linen, hence as embodiment of human labour as such. And in every case the definite bodily form of the equivalent, whether coat or wheat or iron, remains embodiment not of abstract human labour, but of a definite concrete useful type of labour, be it the labour of tailoring or of farming or of mining. The definite concrete useful labour, which produces the body of the commodity which is the equivalent must therefore, in the expression of value, always necessarily count as a definite form of realisation or form of appearance, i.e. of abstract human labour. The coat, for example, can only count as the body of value, hence as embodiment of human labour as such, in so far as the labour of tailoring counts as a definite form, in which human labour-power is expended or in which abstract human labour is realised.
Within the value-relation and the value expression included in it, the abstractly general counts not as a property of the concrete, sensibly real; but on the contrary the sensibly-concrete counts as the mere form of appearance or definite form of realisation of the abstractly general. The labour of tailoring, which, for example, hides in the equivalent ‘coat’, does not possess, within the value-expression of the linen, the general property of also being human labour. On the contrary. Being human labour counts as its essence (Wesen), being the labour of tailoring counts only as the form of appearance (Erscheinungsform) or definite form of realisation of this its essence. This quid pro quo is unavoidable because the labour represented in the product of labour only goes to create value insofar as it is undifferentiated human labour, so that the labour objectified in the value of the product is in no way distinguished from the labour objectified in the value of a different product.
This inversion (Verkehrung) by which the sensibly-concrete counts only as the form of appearance of the abstractly general and not, on the contrary, the abstractly general as property of the concrete, characterises the expression of value. At the same time, it makes understanding it difficult. If I say: Roman Law and German Law are both laws, that is obvious. But if I say: Law (Das Recht), this abstraction (Abstraktum) realises itself in Roman Law and in German Law, in these concrete laws, the interconnection becoming mystical.
g) Third peculiarity of the equivalent form: private labour becomes the form of its opposite, labour in immediately social form
Products of labour would not become commodities, were they not products of separate private labours carried on independently of one another. The social interconnection of these private labours exists materially, insofar as they are members of a naturally evolved social division of labour and hence, through their products, satisfy wants of different kinds, in the totality (Gesamtheit) of which the similarly naturally evolved system of social wants (naturwüchsiges System der gesellschaftlichen Bedürfnisse) consists. This material social interconnection of private labours carried on independently of one another is however only mediated and hence is realised only through the exchange of their products. The product of private labour hence only has social form insofar as it has value-form and hence the form of exchangeability with other products of labour. It has immediately social form insofar as its own bodily or natural form is at the same time the form of its exchangeability with other commodities or counts as value-form for another commodity (anderer Ware). However, as we have seen, this only takes place for a product of labour when, through the value relation of other commodities to it, it is in equivalent-form or, with respect to other commodities, plays the role of equivalent.
The equivalent has immediately social form insofar as it has the form of immediate exchangeability with another commodity, and it has this form of immediate exchangeability insofar as it counts for another commodity as the body of value, hence as equal (als Gleiches). Therefore the definite useful labour contained in it also counts as labour in immediately social form, i.e. as labour which possesses the form of equality with the labour contained in another commodity. A definite, concrete labour like the labour of tailoring can only possess the form of equality with the labour of a different type contained in a commodity of a different kind, for example the linen, insofar as its definite form counts as the expression of something which really constitutes the equality of labours of different sorts or what is equal in those labours. But they are only equal insofar as they are human labour as such, abstract human labour, i.e. expenditure of human labour-power. Thus, as has already been shown, because the definite concrete labour contained in the equivalent counts as the definite form of realisation or form of appearance of abstract human labour, it possesses the form of equality with other labour, and hence, although it is private labour, like all other labour which produces commodities, it is nevertheless labour in immediately social form. Precisely because of this it is represented in a product that is immediately exchangeable with the other commodities.
The last two peculiarities of the equivalent-form set out in §§ b and g become still more comprehensible when we recur to the great theorist (Forscher) who for the first time analysed the value-form, like so many forms of thought, forms of society and forms of nature, and for the most part more happily than his modern successors, I mean Aristotle.
Aristotle clearly formulates first of all the fact that the money-form of the commodity is only the further developed shape (Gestalt) of the simple value-form, i.e. of the expression of value of a commodity in any other commodity, for he says:
‘5 beds = 1 house’ (clinai pente anti oiciaς)
‘does not differ’ from
‘5 beds = such and such an amount of money’ (clinai pente anti ... oson ai pente clinai)
He sees further that the value-relation, in which this expression of value hides, determines, for its part, the fact that the house is qualitatively equated with the bed and that these sensibly different things would not be able to be related to one another as commensurable magnitudes without such essential equality ‘Exchange’, he says, ‘cannot take place without equality, and equality cannot occur without commensurability.’ (out isothς mh oushς summetriaς).
But at this he pulls up short and ceases the further analysis of the value-form, ‘But it is in truth impossible (th men oun alhqeia adunaton) that things of such different sorts should be commensurable’, i.e. qualitatively equal. This equalisation can only be something which is alien to the true nature of things, and therefore only a ‘makeshift for practical purposes’. [c]
Aristotle thus tells us himself just where his further analysis suffers shipwreck, namely, on the lack of the concept of value. What is that which is equal, i.e. the common substance, which the house represents for the bed in the expression of the value of the bed? Such a thing ‘cannot in truth exist’, says Aristotle. Why? With respect to the bed the house represents something which is equal (stellt ein Gleiches vor) insofar as it represents what in both, the bed and the house, is really equal. And that is ? human labour.
But the fact that in the form of commodity-values all labours are expressed as equal human labour and hence as counting equally (als gleichgeseltend) could not be read out of the value-form of commodities by Aristotle, because Greek society rested on slave labour and hence had the inequality of people and their labours as a natural basis. The secret of the expression of value, the equality of all labours and the fact that all labours count equally because and insofar as they are human labour as such can only be deciphered when the concept of human equality already possesses the fixity of a popular prejudice. But that is only possible in a society in which the commodity-form is the general form of the product of labour and thus also the relation of people to one another as possessors of commodities is the ruling social relation. The genius of Aristotle shines precisely in the fact that he discovers in the expression of value of commodities a relation of equality. Only the historical limit of the society in which he lived prevents him from finding out what, ‘in truth’, this relation of equality consists in.
d) Fourth peculiarity of the equivalent form: the fetishism of the commodity-form is more striking in the equivalent form than in the relative value-form
The fact that the products of labour ? such useful things as coat, linen, wheat, iron, etc. ? are values, definite magnitudes of value and in general commodities, are properties which naturally pertain to them only in our practical interrelations (in unsrem Verkehr) and not by nature like, for example, the property of being heavy or being warming or nourishing. But within our practical interrelations, these things relate to one another as commodities. They are values, they are measurable as magnitudes of value, and their common property of being values puts them into a value-relation to one another. Now the fact that, for example, ‘20 yards of linen = 1 coat’ or ‘20 yards of linen are worth 1 coat’ only expresses the fact that:
1. the different types of labour necessary for the production of these things count equally (gleichgelten) as human labour;
2. the fact that the quantity of labour expended in their production is measured according to definite social laws;
3. that tailors and weavers enter into a definite social relation of production.
It is a definite social relation of the producers in which they equate (gleichsetzen) their different types of labour as human labour. It is not less a definite social relation of producers, in which they measure the magnitude of their labours by the duration of expenditure of human labour-power. But within our practical interrelations these social characters of their own labours appear to them as social properties pertaining to them by nature, as objective determinations (gegenständliche Bestimmungen) of the products of labour themselves, the equality of human labours as a value-property of the products of labour, the measure of the labour by the socially necessary labour-time as the magnitude of value of the products of labour, and finally the social relations of the producers through their labours appear as a value-relation or social relation of these things, the products of labour. Precisely because of this the products of labour appear to them as commodities, sensible-supersensible (sinnlich übersinnliche) or social things. Thus the impression on the optic nerve brought about by the light (Lichteindruck auf den Sehnerv) from something is represented, not as a subjective stimulation of the optic nerve itself, but as the objective form of a thing outside the eye. But in the case of seeing, light from a thing, from the external object, is in fact thrown upon another thing, the eye. It is a physical relation between physical things. As opposed to that the commodity-form and the value-relation of products of labour have absolutely nothing to do with their physical nature and the relations between things which springs from this. It is only the definite social relation of people (der Menschen) itself which here takes on for them the phantasmagoric form of a relation of things. Hence in order to find an analogy for this we must take flight into the cloudy region of the religious world. Here the products of the human head appear as independent figures (Gestalten) endowed with a life of their own and standing in a relation to one another and to people. So it is in the world of commodities with the products of the human hand. This I call the fetishism which clings to the products of labour as soon as they are produced as commodities and which is therefore inseparable from commodity-production.
コート、リネン、小麦、鉄などの有益なものである労働の製品が価値であり、価値の絶対的な大きさであり、一般的な商品であるという事実は、当然のことながら、 Verkehr）のようなものであり、例えば、重く、暖かく、栄養を与えるという性質のようなものではない。しかし、私たちの実践的な相互関係の中で、これらは物として互いに関係しています。彼らは価値であり、価値の大きさとして測定可能であり、価値であるという共通の性質は、それらを互いに価値関係に置く。たとえば、「20ヤードのリネン= 1コート」または「20ヤードのリネンは1コートの価値がある」という事実は、
したがって、私たちの実践的な相互関係の中では、同等形態を持つことは、物事の社会的な自然的性質（生態学的性質）として現れるのであり、それゆえ、それは感覚のために存在します（したがって、sinnlich da ist 感覚的にそこにいるーーです）。
Now this fetish-character emerges more strikingly in the equivalent-form than in the relative value-form. The relative value-form of a commodity is mediated, namely by its relation to another commodity. Through this value-form the value of the commodity is expressed as something completely distinct from its own sensible existence. At the same time it is inherent in this that existence as value (Wertsein) is a relation which is alien to the thing itself and hence that its value-relation to another thing can only be the form of appearance of a social relation hidden behind it. Conversely with the equivalent-form. It consists precisely in the fact that the bodily or natural form of a commodity counts immediately as the social form, as the value-form for another commodity. Therefore, within our practical interrelations, to possess the equivalent-form appears as the social natural property (gesellschaftliche Natureigenschaft) of a thing, as a property pertaining to it by nature, so that hence it appears to be immediately exchangeable with other things just as it exists for the senses (so wie es sinnlich da ist). But because within the value-expression of commodity A the equivalent-form pertains by nature to the commodity B it seems also to belong to the latter by nature outside of this relation. Hence, for example, the riddle (das Rätselhafte) of gold, that seems to possess, by nature, apart from its other natural properties, its colour, its specific weight, its non-oxydisability in air, etc., also the equivalent-form, or the social quality of being immediately exchangeable with all other commodities.
§ 4. As soon as value appears independently it has the form of exchange-value