Friday, October 9, 2015

What’s the deal with Marx’s Capital?

What’s the deal with Marx’s Capital? That's the question I was asked to try and answer.

I think this is a very important starting point for the discussions we have been having, and it sums up neatly a point made repeatedly:

Brown (2003) argues that what is distinctive about the political rationality of neoliberalism as opposed to classic liberalism is the extension of the "entrepreneurial logic" to all human activities. "Whereas classic liberalism articulated a distinction, and at times even a tension, among the criteria for individual moral, associational, and economic actions (hence the striking differences in tone subject matter and even prescription between Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations and his Theory of Moral Sentiments), neo-liberalism normatively constructs and interpolates individuals as entrepreneurial actors in every sphere of life." (footnote 5, p. 292, "The Genetic Reinscription of Race", Nadia Abu El-Haj, Annual Review of Anthropology vol. 36, 2007.
That is, this is a look at the way in which capitalist in the present "constructs and interpolates individuals as entrepreneurial actors in every sphere of life."
This however is a moment a very long way down the road of categorial development from what capital is in its most fundamental sense, as the generalization of the commodity-form (the particular social form of the products of production), the labor-form (the particular social form of wealth-producing human activity), the value-form (the particular social form of wealth), the money-form (the particular social form of value), until we reach the total circuit in the capital-form, as self-valorizing, self-expanding, self-reproducing value.  The exploitation of living labor in order to produce a surplus in the form of value is not the social form as such, but its content.
To attempt to conceptualize this in terms of Marx’s Capital, it helps to have some sense of what Marx is and isn’t doing, especially in the first volume, since there is a great deal of confusion.  I just want to note here that I owe a great deal of my reading of Volume 1 to Moishe Postone’s Time, Labor and Social Domination, Werner Bonefeld’s work on primitive accumulation as succinctly expressed in Critical Theory and the Critique of Political Economy, and Nicole Pepperell’s as-yet unpublished PhD dissertation.

Capital is, as its subtitle says, a critique of political economy and this has several implications.  Firstly, Marx is not trying to explain capital or capitalist society as a rational, coherent, consistent system.  Secondly, he is not abstracting from capital’s actual functioning in order to produce a model.  Finally, he is not trying to provide a more accurate theory that fixes the limitations of classical political economy associated with Smith, Ricardo, Petty, Quesnay, etc.  As a critique of political economy, Marx produced a book that treats even classical political economy as a necessarily failed attempt to provide a rational, consistent, coherent account of a system and a society that in his view is fundamentally irrational, inconsistent and incoherent.  Marxists, generally a confused lot more interested in the workers’ movement than in the critique of political economy, take Marx’s work to be a proof of the necessary collapse of capital and a critique of capital by labor.  In that story, capital and the capitalist class are evil and labor and the working class are good.  Capital ends up being a book about the good guys and the bad guys in the class struggle.  However, this point of view has a lot of problems, not the least of which is that Marx’s own notion of life beyond capital, beyond class society, is a life not determined by labor, but determined by freely disposable time.  Marx’s critique of political economy is therefore a critique of all of its elements, of capital and labor, of money and the means of production.

This does not mean that Marx does not engage with political economy on its own terms.  Marx is not offering a criticism of capital or of political economy, that is, an attack from an external, superior standpoint, from better first principles.  Such a criticism would have to justify its first principles, a move that inevitably leads to either vicious circularity (a rose is a rose because it is a rose) or infinite regress (the first principle has to be justified by another preceding principle, which has to be justified by another even more prior first principle and so on.)  The problem of such criticism was recognized as far back as Aristotle in his Metaphysics and Sextus Empiricus in his Outline of Pyrrhonism and Outlines of Skepticism.  Marx therefore takes political economy at it’s word and accepts its categories as the terms of the discussion.  He then proceeds, much as Hegel does in his Phenomenology of Spirit, by allowing those categories to express their own failure, and by watching where each failure leads, takes us on a journey from the categories of capital and capitalist society as underdetermined and abstract to their more complete, complexly determined, and therefore concrete, expression.  This is not a historical trip, however, as the logical development of these categories does not follow their historical path.  In fact, commodity, labor, value, etc. as Marx first posits them in Chapter 1, are only able to be seen in their genesis at the very end of the book, where the historical production of the categories comes in only after their logical development.  This is why constituted classes do not appear in Capital until the third book and why the phrase “class struggle” cannot be found in volume 1.

Since this is an presentation of the movement of the first volume, I am not going to try and reproduce the movement of the work as such.  Rather than a phenomenological development, such as Marx uses, this is a more severe style of presentation.  If you want the full working up and a more step-by-step analysis, you will have to read Capital and the commentaries I have mentioned.  There is no way around that.  This presentation is meant as a clarification and a statement of how I understand Capital and therefore is closer to Hegel’s Lectures on the History of Philosophy than the Phenomenology or the Logic.

The most succinct expression of capital as a movement is M-C-M', that is, money which makes itself into more money through the transformation of money into commodities that are then exchanged for a greater sum of money.  In this movement, the material forms change repeatedly, and different activities produce different changes, time is even transformed into space and space back into time, but all of this destruction and creation preserves the social form of wealth (value) and even expands it.  Each form is necessarily a vanishing moment, but a moment which must be passed through each time in order to reproduce and preserve capital as such, and this reproduction and preservation requires its self-expansion with each cycle.

How the cycle goes from M-M’ is a point of much debate.  In classical political economy and traditional Marxist Political Economy, M is spent on C, where C is means of production, raw materials and labor power.  C is then transformed in the production process ...p… and the outcome of which is C’, that is, a set of commodities with more value than what was purchased with M.  Thus when C’ is sold (we are assuming that it sells at its value, not above or below as it would in actuality), we now have M’, the original M+S, our surplus value.  

From this perspective, new value, surplus-value, has to originate in production.  Many people believe that Marx makes an argument for living labor as the only source of new value in the first chapters of Capital, but he does not.  The one point Marx makes about the production of value is that it cannot originate in exchange, in the idea that one buys low and sells high (chapter 2).  Robbing Peter to pay Paul on the total scale of the economy would not result in the production of value, but a zero-sum game.  I pay x+1 for a, but now I have to sell b for x+1 as well, passing on the cost all along the way.  Marx thus makes the point that new wealth in the form of increased value, has to come from outside of exchange.  

However, the idea that only living labor power produces new value, as opposed to machinery and raw materials, that is, dead or already expended labor turned into things, or even living labor in the forms of animals, causes a great deal of confusion. After all, machines and raw materials produce material wealth all the time.  Why don’t they produce value?  After all, value in Marx is objective.  It isn’t a produced in exchange nor is it determined by what people are willing to pay.  What makes human labor so special?  And if it is a question of living labor, why not the labor of animals? Marx is even skeptical of the value-producing capability of non-wage labor.

The first few chapters are thus hard to comprehend if you are looking for an argument there that Marx is not making.

The most common mistake is to think that Marx is in fact trying to put forward a coherent concept of value in Chapter 1.  What Marx is actually doing is akin to what Hegel does in the first three chapters of the Phenomenology of Spirit.  Marx is taking the most common conceptions of the basic forms and production of wealth in capitalist society and working them out in their self-contradiction.  Marx’s work, like Hegel’s, is concerned with the aporias of social forms and their concepts.  First comes the commodity which is a use-value and an exchange-value, the empiricist understanding of the form of wealth that a commodity is a thing that is a use-value to the buyer and an exchange-value to the owner.  The first use-value that is an exchange-value that concerns Marx is, albeit in a passing joke about tanning and hides, labor power itself, whose use-value is always first and foremost its capacity to produce exchange-values.  

This leads us to the second way of considering wealth, the rationalist analysis of the inner content of the commodity as embodied labor, of the split between concrete and abstract labor, that is, labor as the substance of value.  What becomes clear however is that the substance of exchange-value is not labor embodied in the commodity, as if labor were a chemical property of the commodity (and as if commodities could only be things), but the socially necessary labor-time.  Thus, the value of the commodity, a spatial object at this point, is temporal.  (In his unpublished manuscripts published posthumously as Theories of Surplus-Value, Marx makes it clear that commodities need not be things, even, as the labor of a clown is value-producing if the clown has sold his capacity for labor, his capacity for clowning in this case, to a capitalist who sells his services to someone, and who presumably also provides the clown suits, and other materials, thus investing in variable and constant capital.)  This is also the point in chapter 1 where Marx’s engages with measure and magnitude of value and where people believe Marx makes an argument for embodied labor as the substance of value.  

The final way of considering the form of wealth is its absolute idealist (one might say Hegelian) form, as the form of value, or as exchange-value qua money, which includes a logical-genetic account of the value-form.  Marx begins with the relative form of value where two commodities face each other, one as the commodity and the other as the measure of the value of the commodity.  He moves on to the equivalent form of value where one commodity, still some manner of use-value, stands as the measure of all other values, much like cigarettes in a prison.  Marx then develops the account of the general equivalent, a commodity that largely has no other use-value than being the equivalent measure of value for all other commodities, and this is where Marx introduces the use of malleable precious metals such as copper, silver, and gold.  Marx ends with the final form, the money-form as the most perfect, empty and meaningless form of value.  With money, it is no longer necessary that money be present as a commodity as such, but stands in for value.  There is much discussion even today as to whether or not money has to be backed by a commodity of some sort, that is whether you need a gold backing or whether fiat money is actual money.  However, that is a question that requires the full development of interest and finance, which does not happen until Volume 3.  It would be a mistake to think Marx is in a position to answer that question at this very low level of development of money.  Here socially-necessary labor time as the substance and magnitude of value either exists as money, that is, is expressed in an other that everyone recognizes as its universally valid other, or it doesn't exist at all.  After all, a commodity that cannot be expressed as, exchanged for, money, isn’t valid as value, it is just a thing or an activity.  Marx thus works through all of the various conceptions of value and wealth in classical political economy, without so far presenting his own.  This is the second source of confusion.

Only with the fetishistic character of the commodity do we begin to get to Marx's notion of wealth in capitalist society, and this is because only here do we begin to get to the various moments of the commodity form not merely as a variety of binary distinctions that allow shape, measure, and transformation, but as the self-reproduction of the social forms themselves as forms of social domination.  Reification is a moment of this, but fetishism is more than that, it is our self-alienated activity, in the form of labor, as an objective form of domination that appears as freedom.  So while reification captures one aspect of fetishism, reification by itself does not automatically entail domination.  The full concept of fetishism requires that the reified product of our labor and that the labor itself constitutes that which dominates us.

It is very important to note at this point that if Marx has laid out contradictory, inadequate concepts of wealth and the form of wealth in the first chapter, this does not mean that the categories he develops there are simply false.  Much like sense-certainty, perception and understanding in the Phenomenology of Spirit, these categories as deployed by classical political economy are too abstract and underdetermined; they are not yet concrete in the sense of the outcome of many determinations.  After all, we know nothing of production, the labor process, circulation, or even profit, interest, and rent.  We only know value, labor, commodity, and money, but they will remain essential for Marx's entire work, but as these more and more actualized, determined forms.

As I have noted above, chapter 2 is really where Marx makes the point that value is not produced in the act of exchange.  He also spends a fair amount of time showing that the commodity, to truly be a commodity, must be produced for someone else, as an exchange-value, that it must be exchanged for money, for its other.  Something produced to be consumed, rather than exchanged for money, is not a commodity.  Something produced as a commodity is valueless if it is not sold, that is, value is only value as long as it is valorized, that is, value is only potential in production, but it must be actualized, realized, in exchange.

In chapter 3 Marx begins his deeper analysis of money's forms or modes of existence.  Key to this is the way in which money both represents and preserves value so that in the metamorphosis of the capital cycle, even when a commodity loses its body, its spirit is retained in the form of money and may go and seek a new body.

Only at this point do we come across capital proper, in Part II, "The Transformation of Money into Capital".  Now we see that capital is the self-valorization of value, as self-expanding wealth.   The end of capital, its telos, is not new commodities, but the endless expansion of abstract, infinite value qua money.  M' is ever the goal of capital proper.  Since money is pure quantity, this is a bad infinity, an infinite seeking for “one dollar more”.  Any and all C (raw materials, machinery, labor, finished goods) are merely means to an ever-expanding M'.  As such, the goal of production is not reproducing individuals (the reproduction of individuals in fact falls outside of the capital cycle and has its own, unwaged labor), but the reproduction of surplus-value qua money that can be reinvested to effect the expanded reproduction of capital on a continuously higher plain.  The dream of a perpetual motion machine is the dream of the perfect production of surplus-value without a breakdown.  And just as the perpetual motion machine is a fantasy, so too is capital as a perpetual motion machine, but that is a discussion for another time.

Nowhere up to this point does Marx really make an argument for why only living labor, and specifically wage-labor, produces new value.  Nor could he because that is a question that requires a degree of concrete development of the concept of labor that we had not yet reached.  However, now we can venture some ideas on this, beginning with Chapter 7 and this will take up a large portion of the middle section of Capital, as Marx concerns himself with the absolute and relative surplus-value for 11 chapters.  Only in this discussion, of the first real mention of surplus-value and constant and variable capital can we start understanding the importance of human labor, and waged-labor in particular.

By this point in Capital, we know that when a capitalist buys a machine and raw materials, they are paid for in advance (the issue of buying on credit is irrelevant here because credit does not change that the capitalist must pay the full value of the machine; what it does introduce is a complication that we can’t approach adequately yet, the problem of interest), and once paid for lose value whether they are used or not.  In order to use them up for maximum valorization, capital thus must operate the machinery and use the raw materials as efficiently as possible, as close to 24 hours a day as possible in many cases, so that the value “stored” (embodied in the money spent in their purchase) in those machines is consumed and transferred as close to completely as possible in the commodities produced for exchange in order to make M'.  Also, a machine can only do what it is told to do, what it is designed for.  It's wear and tear can be delayed and mitigated by efficient operations and repairs (whether fixing a worn cog wheel or a bug in the program), but used up it will be.  Further, the competition between capitals to capture market share leads to a constant improvement in the productivity of labor and the need to surpass the efficiency of the existing machine or program.  This pressure to develop better machines and better programs makes the older machine or older program lose value (depreciate) even more quickly.  The ways in which additional surplus-value are squeezed out of labor forms the thread that runs through the distinction between absolute and relative surplus-value that Marx will develop in the middle section of the book.

Human labor power within the capital cycle, however, is novel.  As waged-labor, it is only paid for the time it is active.  Workers may also be thrown into and out of production.  The employer does not lose money if they lay people off, but they do if machines and raw materials lie idle.  The former is the problem of the free worker, the latter is the problem of the capitalist.  An interesting take on how this differs from slave labor is presented in the movie Burn.  Within the paid time of production, there is also variability as a worker produces more or less in a given time, but their wage does not generally change in that time.  Even in piece work, the form merely disguises the wage so that the surplus-value is already built into every piece.  Let’s stop and compare an hourly wage to a piece-wage in an 8 hours day.  In an hourly wage, a worker appears to be paid for every hour of labor, and this is true.  However, the wage is not the equivalent of the total value produced.  If it was, there would be no surplus-value.  And what is more important, it is not like the first 6 hours of labor produce the wage and the last two the surplus.  This is an illusion of the wage, however.  If the worker only works six hours, assuming the ratio of wages to surplus being the same (¾ to ¼), then in 6 hours, 4.5 hours would go to wages and 1.5 to surplus.  This is because every commodity is a unit of value and when it is sold, it will, as a unit, realize both value spent on wages and surplus.  So too with the piece wage, where a worker is paid per piece, the individual piece completed is also sold as a whole value.  The variability of the worker is also evident in changes in the pace of production.  Faster rates of production will use up the machinery and raw materials more quickly, but they don’t change the wage of the worker: the hourly wage or the piece rate remain what they are.  Increasing the rate of the worker is an increase in productivity of the labor, but it doesn’t increase the productivity of the machine or raw materials.  To do that, you have invest in different, more advanced machinery or discover and make use of more cheaply produced raw materials.  Finally, unlike a machine, a waged worker is both a seller of a commodity, and a buyer of commodities, that is, they are not merely object, but subjects of the capital cycle.

These appear, deceptively, as technical reasons, but there is a significant theoretical point to be made.  What wage-labor does, as being also the seller and buyer of commodities, is reproduce the capital relation itself.  In selling their labor and in buying commodities as their only means of acquiring their existence, the waged laborer reproduces capital as a self-produced form of domination.  Machines and raw materials are a means to an end in this process, but they cannot of themselves reproduce a social relation.  They don't have a "social relation".  The beginning of this point is certainly in the earlier chapters, but it really begins to come to light starting in chapter 7.  This is how I take Marx  when he says:
"We pre-suppose labour in a form that stamps it as exclusively human. A spider conducts operations that resemble those of a weaver, and a bee puts to shame many an architect in the construction of her cells. But what distinguishes the worst architect from the best of bees is this, that the architect raises his structure in imagination before he erects it in reality. At the end of every labour-process, we get a result that already existed in the imagination of the labourer at its commencement. He not only effects a change of form in the material on which he works, but he also realises a purpose of his own that gives the law to his modus operandi, and to which he must subordinate his will. And this subordination is no mere momentary act. Besides the exertion of the bodily organs, the process demands that, during the whole operation, the workman’s will be steadily in consonance with his purpose. This means close attention. The less he is attracted by the nature of the work, and the mode in which it is carried on, and the less, therefore, he enjoys it as something which gives play to his bodily and mental powers, the more close his attention is forced to be." (italics mine- CDW)

From first to last, this paragraph not only distinguishes human from animal labor, but also implicitly from machines.  This is especially evident in the last sentence, where the implication is that the more labor is performed for an end that is not our own, the more close his attention is forced to be.  That is, where the will and intellect belongs to another, so too the force applied to our attention belongs to another.  None of this applies to a machine or raw materials, but only to human labor.

Thus waged-labor is also different from unwaged labor in several key respects.

Waged-labor is itself a commodity, which is purchased by a capital for the purpose of the production of other commodities whose first use-value is that they are exchange-values (the doubled nature of use-value, as its use for the producer of the commodity as an exchange-value and the use of the commodity for the buyer which makes is exchange-worthy, is generally ignored in the Marxist literature as much as in classical political economy), to be sold in order to make more money that will be reinvested as expanded capital.  Waged-labor is performed exactly for a wage, that is, in return for money.  If waged-labor sees its activity as C-M-C, from the point of view of capital waged-labor is either a part of valorization of value or it is a cost of production.

Waged labor is also free in the doubled, capitalist sense: free to be sold to any buyer, for a specific duration, for which it is paid an equivalent (hence a relation of equality as an exchange of equivalents between equally contracting parties, therefore a relation not merely of law, but constituting law); free from any property, any commodity, that might be used to reproduce its owner, except the commodity labor power, i.e. the capacity for labor.  The wage-laborer is thus also a buyer of commodities.  Unwaged laborers have to get means of subsistence in some other manner, generally a relation of some kind of dependence on someone who has money (wage-laborer, land owner, capitalist.)

Nothing precludes reproduction in the broad sense from being commodified.  The distinction is not per se between reproductive labor and productive labor, but between unwaged, private labor and waged, public labor.  That reproductive labor was once primarily household labor that was private and unwaged does not mean that it has to remain primarily so.  Reproductive labor can certainly be commodified and thus waged, public labor with its product produced as a commodity.  This was the case from fairly early on, as food stuffs, clothing, housing, etc. were bought and rented, but their maintenance and preparation, as well as a whole host of other aspects like childcare and entertainment, were not.  The only restriction on the commodification of most elements of reproduction is that at some point, the cheapness of goods and services depends on the relatively low wages of those producing those goods and services.  The specific situation in the U.S. in the present depends on the Wal-Martization of commodities, that is, the production of extremely cheap goods that drive primary producers to extremely small rates of profit.  This does not tend to make the laborers in these enterprises into consumers, and it hurts the accumulation of capital by the producing capital.  For example, if I am a Chinese manufacturing company making dog food to Wal-Mart, Wal-Mart is able to control the access to the market so tightly that it can dictate acceptable costs of production.  The company is forced to maximize both the squeezing of the workers’ wages and their other costs of production, and even then their rates of profit can be terribly low (Cornered by Barry C. Lynn has an excellent discussion of this.)  Now, while the workers are making a wage that may expand buying power marginally, between the low wage and low profit, this kind of production tends to make the development of an internal market that allows for economic expansion rather limited.  This creates its own tensions between the various capitals and in term of development.  It has also gone hand-in-hand with a general extension of debt, which allows consumption to continue through the perpetual promise to pay Tuesday for a hamburger purchased today.  Thus the tendency for reproductive labor to be private, unwaged labor doesn't simply go away.  Nor does unwaged, private labor magically become commodity-producing labor that is part of the cycle of capital's self-valorization of value.

Oddly enough, the aspect of reproduction that is least easily commodifiable, at least in a general sense, is reproduction itself, that is, having children.  Is it any wonder then that the most brutal struggle being fought over the control of women’s bodies today would be reproductive rights and sexual control?  Here I think it is the moment that appears the most biologically-restricted that is the most highly socially mediated.  The control of women’s bodies in reference to having children is about the control of future labor power in the most embodied sense, that is, literally over the supply of future labor on the one side, and over the future inheritors of wealth on the other.  The case of Purvi Patel is instructive, if terrifying, in the lengths to which the state will go to assert that as not merely the bearer of a child, but as the possible bearer of a child, a woman has no rights that cannot be sacrificed to future capital.

My argument is two-fold: that waged, public labor cannot exist without unwaged, private labor, and that unwaged, private labor was predominantly the labor of reproduction and is the key to the gendering of human beings in capitalist society.  As reproductive labor is increasingly commodified and wage-labor is increasingly reproductive and personal service-providing labor in Department 2, due to the extensive increase in the organic composition of capital in Department 1 in particular and thus the shrinking number of workers in the production of means of production and raw materials, labor is increasingly feminized, that is, the very values of affective, emotive, interpersonal engagement that were previously disparaged against masculine values, are now prized.  We are living through a crisis of gender that on the one hand has a politics of liberation of woman as a positive, particular identity and a politics of ressentiment at its limitations, and on the other hand, a politics of the revelation of masculinity as merely an identity, as particular and not universal, and thus a politics of ressentiment at the increasing loss of its value and worth.  Neither is grasped as a crisis of capitalist social forms tied to a crisis of accumulation and of value itself.

This crisis does not entail that value is no longer produced.  Waged-labor has not ceased to exist.  Money is more, not less, essential to the procurement of the means of life, the goal of economic activity is more than ever profit.  In fact, to return to the paragraph with which I opened this letter, the present moment of capitalist society, which many call neo-liberalism, "normatively constructs and interpolates individuals as entrepreneurial actors in every sphere of life."

The problem is that while this interpolation may turn everyone into a little capitalist in outlook, but it doesn't resolve the crisis of the valorization of value, which has translated into a shrinking number of workers in value-producing labor.  What happens when more of the population is engaged in labor that is purchased as a service rather than as value-producing labor?  Keeping in mind that as more and more labor is not value-producing, but is itself service labor that provides surrogate private labor functions, the purchasers of that commodified reproductive labor have to make enough money so that it is cheaper to buy the service as a commodity than to perform the labor oneself.  This is a dilemma, as the more people perform service jobs, the less value labor produces, the less likely the mass of laborers are to have the money to buy waged reproductive services.  The state provides a certain relief, but in the U.S. this is also maintained by debt and the Wal-Mart-ization of the economy, predicated on the dramatic lowering of global wages thanks to the entry of India and China’s massive populations into the global market as producers of commodities for Department Two.  It seems unlikely that the commodification of private, non-value producing labor can be maintained alongside stagnant or decreasing rates of wages and a decreasing mass of wages in value-producing industries.  Between high-value labor in production areas with a very high organic composition of capital, where the mass of value produced is increasingly more important than the rate of value, and service production that is nonetheless value-producing, but with low-value labor, a lower organic composition of capital, low value per unit, and relatively low productivity, the rate of surplus value is relatively high, but the mass of surplus value is considerably smaller.  In short, wages and income not generated from value-producing spheres of production are a deduction from the total social value produced.  If the income and wages from value-producing spheres decreases, this puts a limit on the amount of services that can be monetized.  In fact, the present period is exactly like this, but under conditions in which all of life is monetized.

The question of unfree, unwaged labor in relation to capital is certainly not easy either.  This is labor that is in many respects treated like means of production, that is, is bought and paid for in full.  And yet, the unfree, unwaged laborer is still human.  They can still reproduce themselves, they can perform a surplus and a variety of activities that allow a difference between the price paid for their labor and what they produce.  Also, whether or not the means of subsistence are bought by the owner of the laborer or is a relative pittance of a wage whose options of expenditure are significantly curtailed by the threat of violence, the means of subsistence are nonetheless purchased as commodities.  Thus even unfree, unwaged labor that produces commodities finds itself in the general cycle of capital.  This is what I hope to develop later.

If we consider the relationship of free to unfree labor in commodity production, we can think of it as a relation of contingency and necessity.  

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