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Christopher J. Arthur
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Glossary

Absence

This is the founding category of the presentation. Exchange absents entirely the material of the commodity when identifying heterogeneous commodities with each other. The dialectic begins by arguing that this absence is yet present.

Absolute

The highest point of a hierarchically organised unitary system, which comprehends it retrospectively as unitary.

Absolute Relation

The highest form of relatedness, in which the two sides are merely complementary aspects of a single whole; it contrasts with essential relationship, where the poles have their defining relation in common, but are not otherwise unified.

Actuality

In the value-form presentation the category of ‘actuality’ resolves the opposition of essence and appearance; when a form is ‘actual’ it appears as what it is, as fully realised, so to speak. It is also used here broadly as a category ontologically superior to ‘being’, ‘existent’, or ‘real’. In this sense ‘actuality’ is not to be equated with contingent empirical facts. Rather, a developed actuality sublates less determinate levels of being to achieve its own effectivity. This effectivity may be retained in the face of contingent disturbances of its action. In Hegel’s logic it is defined as the unity of essence and existence. Mere ‘existences’ lacking any essential reason for being, or failing to live up to it, are not actualities. This background explains why I consider my account of total social capital to develop it in its actuality, albeit that such contingencies as supply and demand are disregarded.

Added Value

‘Added Value’ is generated in the process of production of capital. It is the source of the revenues wages and profit.

Architectonic

The dictionary definition of this term as ‘the systematic arrangement of knowledge’ is very pertinent here. The ‘homology thesis’ maintains that two orders of categories, those of the logical, and those of the value form, have parallel architectonics.

Being-in-exchange

The first concrete category of the value-form dialectic is ‘Being present in exchange’, so what is present is termed briefly ‘Being-in-exchange’.

Circuit and Circulation

A circuit is run through when value stays in the same place, for example, capital is the same throughout its metamorphoses, e.g. M–C–M′. Circulation is the objective movement of commodities and money between various hands (for example, as a commodity is bought and sold).

Concept, Moments of

The Infinite Moments of the Concept are Universality, Particularity, Singularity. These have finite determinations, e.g. singulars. (See also Individual and Notion.)

Concept

In Hegel the Concept is a purely logical category. An Idea (q.v.) is the fully realised, or actualised, Concept. Whereas Hegel completes his Logic with the Absolute Idea, I must refuse this because Capital at the level of pure form (see Division I) is realisable only in contradiction with itself. The Capital Concept therefore is realised only with the turn to production (in Division II), which shows how the contradiction is resolved in the theory of surplus value. For Hegel the Concept is paradigmatically incarnate in the ‘I’, an individual subject with a self-determining ‘will’. Just so, I take every capital to be such a subject, with a drive to accumulate. Albeit there is lacking in this ‘subject’ consciousness and personality, the character of the capitalist supplies this moment. However, an individual capital achieves truth only in and through the competition of capitals. So the Idea of Capital is treated in the System of Capital (in Division III). This system is itself implicitly the Idea, with its general rate of profit. But it is explicitly present with the regulation of industry by the capital markets, the normal rate of interest, etc. (q.v. ‘Spirit’).

Concrete universal

The term ‘concrete universal’ is used here in a basic sense and an extended sense. Initially it is contrasted with the ‘abstract universal’. That stands opposed to singulars, which fall under, so to speak, its range of reference. By contrast the concrete universal comprehends them as part of its meaning; instead of standing opposed to them, it particularises itself in them. Such a view of concepts (or at least some of them) may be taken by thought considering the nature of concepts. However, a further consideration is that the Concept may be considered as determining itself in such a movement from universal, to particular, to singular. A paradigmatic example is embodied in the ‘will’, which sets itself to some particular object. This richer notion is incarnate in living labour, and capital. Both move from universality, more or less fluidly, to particular shapes.

Conditions of Existence

Material and social conditions, first encountered, then subsumed, and finally reproduced in a shape adequate to the Idea of Capital.

Derangement

Cognate with Marx’s Verrücktheit. I trade on the double sense: ‘disarrange’ and ‘absurd’.

Dimension of Value

When first presented it is figured as pure immanence lacking in measure; it is actualised only when a monetary medium provides a ground for it, and its measure.

Exchange-Value

The measure of exchangeability given by one commodity to another. This is a form of Being; it is developed before ‘Value’, a form of Essence.

Exchangeableness/Exchangeability

The concept of value has qualitative and quantitative aspects; to reflect this I distinguish between ‘exchangeableness’ and ‘exchangeability’. The former refers to some quality intrinsic to the commodity, which allows it to be exchanged; the latter refers to the quantitative proportions in which it exchanges against others pro rata.

Exchangeability in Immediacy

See immediate exchangeability

Form

This notion occurs at three levels of generality. First, the ideal social form of the commodity contrasts with its material form. This relation is relatively external (but see formal determination). Second there are forms of value such as the commodity form, the money form, and so forth. The presentation shows how these forms develop out of one another in a systematic order (see form-determination). Finally, one of these is ‘value as form’, which might be empty (see §22.12) or might be united with its content (see §22.32/3). (Note that ‘shape’ differs from ‘form’ in that the latter is pure and abstract but the former is phenomenally perceptible, almost sensuous, so to speak.)

Form-Determination

This term I use in my discussion of the money form of value, but it has very general application as there are many determinations of form throughout the presentation. (Note that it is distinct from ‘formal determination’, q.v.)

Formal Determination

The category homologous with Hegel’s ‘Cognition’ is that of ‘Formal Determination’. This differs from material determination (e.g. causal determination) in that it refers to the way in which the material metabolism is inscribed within social forms that determine its lines of interchange and development. It is congruent with cognition because cognition is about how logical categories inform the real world; and the value form equally takes possession of the real economic process and informs it with the purposes of capital. Since each moment (formal and material) informs the other, the task is to study how each complements the other, e.g. on the material side, the potential for labour power to be exploited is certainly given, but how and why it is, and how the result is socially registered, all comes from the value form side, as if that were of the essence of the economy. Formal Determination occurs both in formal valuation and in practical subsumption. In sum, it is to impute something with form. Note that it is distinct from ‘form-determination’ (q.v.) which is precisely a form a thing has.

Generalised commodity production

A mode of production in which the vast majority of products are commodities destined for the market. It is a condition of existence of capitalism.

Ground

As a specific category, it is introduced in order to resolve by the value form the contradiction in commodity value in which the value of one commodity is given in another exchangeable for it. However, both terms (ground and value form) are used very generally also, in order to characterise any form of value required to actualise another, e.g. money grounds the immanence of value.

Idea

This is the unity of the Concept and Reality; it does not refer to ideas in the head. (q.v. Concept.) The Idea is presented as resulting from the idealisation of the reality apparently other than it, but then seen as an indivisible aspect of it.

Ideal and Real

Initially the presentation follows Hegel in first treating the Ideal (in our case the logic of the value form) as opposed to the real (in our case the material metabolism of the economy). However, when the Ideal subsumes the real, ‘idealises it’, so to speak, the Ideal makes itself real. In its unity with the real, the Ideal shapes it according to its own logic. So the Idea, as the unity of the two aspects, is objectively present, not merely a thought in the head. But our presentation is complicated by the fact that the homology of form relies on commodities and money to bear the Ideal. These are perfectly real themselves, whether their putative ideal aspect is, or is not.

Immediate Exchangeability

This is a feature of money, not shared by commodities. It is distinguished from Exchangeability-in-Immediacy. The latter is given in the reality of the unique universal equivalent, which shows the value of a commodity, while itself not requiring a value expression, because it is the actuality of value. Form V assigns this power of incarnating Exchangeability-in-Immediacy to the money commodity. Form VI is the reverse and shows that money, as immediate exchangeability, has the power of laying itself out on commodities insofar as, unlike commodities themselves, it is always acceptable for them.

Individual

I use this in a technical sense to comprehend the whole triad of the Notion: Universal/Particular/Singular.

Infinitely Negative Judgement

I speak metaphorically of this when I originally define value as ‘not use-value’. It is the practice of exchange, not thought, that effects this ‘judgement’ on commodities when constituting them therewith as beings-in-exchange.

Judgement

The infinity of the Notion determines itself to finitude in the judgement. Thus the Judgement of Worth is an ontological move and money passes therewith from the form of abstract wealth to finite existence in coins etc. capable of exchanging with commodities. The formality of the Judgement says that a thing is of worth and, indeed, worth so much money. The categoricality of the Judgement takes the thing to be a genuine commodity, having value as its substance (there is no category mistake involved). The Judgement in its conceptual perfection asserts that the true worth of the commodity is registered (but this is determined systemically in the whole relatedness of commodities). (For a distinct sense of ‘Judgement’ see Infinitely Negative Judgement.)

Labour Power

Labour capacity as a concretely universal potential is formally determined as labour power by capital, posited as a mere resource yielding labour in the abstract. However, living labour is required for production of goods, and is the carrier of abstract labour.

Measure

I distinguish: specifying measure registered by exchange-value, proper measure incarnate in a monetary medium, and real measure as the money which expresses the magnitude of value immanent in a commodity. When treating money as the incarnation of the homogenous value substance, I recognise its necessary quantitative extension by its proper measure in units of the monetary medium, just as the proper measure of spatial extension is a standard metre ruler. When treating the relation of money to commodities it is a question of the taking of the real measure of their value in this money, already determined as the proper measure of value.

Moment

This is cognate with the moments of a lever, not with a moment in time. A moment is an essential feature of a whole; it is informed in its movement by complementary moments to effect the subsistence of the whole; yet they are all sublated within it, so it is the whole that is precedent.

Necessary labour

This is that labour yielded by the worker in order the receive the wage; it contrasts with the surplus labour appropriated by capital in the form of surplus value. It is distinct from the labour required to produce the means of subsistence purchased with the wage. It is also distinct from two other notions: (i) the labour time socially necessary to produce a commodity; (ii) modes of labour which may be deemed socially necessary in other contexts, such as domestic labour, that of civil servants, and so forth.

Nothing and non-being

Nothing is that immediacy opposed to Being but indistinguishable from it; these moments are sublated in Nothingness. Non-being is the mediated result of the positing by Being-in-exchange of what is outside it, originally the absented use-value sphere, as indeterminately other than Being.

Notion

This has here both a formal use with ‘N’ and an informal use with ‘n’. The Notion is my coinage for the first section of Hegel’s Doctrine of the Concept (i.e. the formal concept). This corresponds in the ‘homology’ to the price form. (In this I take advantage of the traditional variant translations of Begriff as ‘Concept’ and ‘Notion’. I prefer ‘Concept’; but this leaves ‘Notion’ free to mark the above subtlety.) The informal use of ‘notion’ refers to a merely mental or subjective representation, which is to some extent caught by the connotations of English usage, especially in the adjective ‘notional’.

Numerical Difference

Two things identical in every respect are said to be two as a matter of only numerical difference. It is an important proposition of this book that two commodities of the same value are as values merely numerically different, and not individuated in any other way.

Posit

This is the process of making explicit what is implicit. Also it is what is understood as arising from its presuppositions. It is not merely that thought affirms the posited entity is logically consequent, but that it arises from an objective relation or movement. Positing the presupposition occurs when the posited element is shown to ground its own presupposition. At the level of Division I, the relation of positing is merely formal. At that of Division II, there is a ‘concrete positing’.

Presence

Cognate with Hegel’s Dasein (Being-There); when speaking of ‘the presence of absence’ it is also presence in the sense of ‘a Presence’.

Presentation

Cognate with Marx’s ‘Darstellung’. The term presentation has two referents. My presentation of the logic of capital follows in the tracks of capital’s own presentation of itself. With regard to the latter, it has the sense ‘making present’.

Presupposition

This is not the same as ‘assumption’, because it is to be posited in the course of the dialectic developed from it.

Price

I distinguish Simple price (= Cost price + notional profit), Production price (= Cost Price + uniform rate of profit), and Reproduction Price (= Cost Price + general rate of profit).

Quality

As a general heading this characterises ‘Being’ in the most indeterminate sense, namely that without which it would not be; here this is the exchangeableness of the commodity. It is also used more specifically under ‘determinate being’ as defined by its limit in another quality; but here there are no contrastive qualities, so the determination is secured by otherness as such, namely another commodity identical to the first.

Separation, original

This refers to the constitutive parting of the material and ideal realms, more specifically to the use-value and value determinants of the commodity.

Space

In this work, space refers to the notional separation of produced commodities synchronously commensurated in exchange.

Spirit

This is my usual rendering of Hegel’s Geist. (Note that modern translators prefer to use ‘Mind’ for it.) It is the self-knowing moment of the Idea. ‘The spirit of capitalism’ (Weber) is here taken as objective not subjective (q.v. Idea), which has its explicit moment in finance.

Subject

Since the presentation is restricted to the logical form of capital, its presentation as subject draws primarily on the logic of the concept. There are three levels to its development: Notion; Teleology; and Life. Logically the category of subject can hardly be distinguished from that of the ‘self-acting Concept’, which determines itself from universality to singularity. The universality of a fund is capable of being determined to many different investments. Next comes the consideration that it selects means towards realising its projects. It engages in ‘teleological positing’ in the form M–C–M′. Finally, the capital subject takes itself as its own project, when self-developing as infinite accumulation. (See also ‘substance’.)

Sublate

Cognate with Hegel’s ‘aufheben’. This comprehends three linked determinations: abolition, elevation, and preservation. It is the characteristic figure of a dialectical transition, in which a form is not abolished outright but is preserved in a new shape when elevated to a moment of a higher form.

Substance

Its substance is what allows something to preserve its existence independent of that of others. It is the bearer of attributes, which themselves may change while the substance itself endures. The substantiality of value is posited by money (§23.3). It follows that there is no ‘substance of value’ because value is itself a substance, albeit appearing simply as the logical form of substance. (It is the ideal product of social practice, so it has nothing to do with any physical substances.) When I term money ‘the value substance’, then, it is the elucidation of substance as pure form. Spinoza held that there is only one substance. This is a good analogy for value, since commodities, however various, are, as values, of the same ideal substance. Because value is one substance, different values are not different substances, hence they are as much identical (except in magnitude) as different. As products, commodities have some material substance in addition. So there is consubstantiation. From capital’s point of view, it is value substance that counts, so implicitly it assumes transubstantiation occurs with commodification. When I use the Hegelian figure ‘substance becomes subject’ this does not refer to the material substance of the commodity but to money as the value substance becoming capital.

Subsumption

This has three contexts. (i) At the end of Division I on the value form it refers formally to commodification; (ii) the process of formal determination of production subsumes it under the rule of capital; (iii) and consequently reshapes it as it is really subsumed by capital in its service.

Surplus Value

This is a residual once wages are deducted from added value. It is the source of such revenues as entrepreneurial profit, interest, rent, etc.

Teleology

This characterises a form having immanent purposiveness. It comes in three sub-categories in my usage. Finite Teleology has agent, means, and end, external to one another. I use this term to characterise C–M–C′ where the C–M is a means to the M–C′. Infinite teleology arises when what is an end for one agent is a means for another, and also means are ends. It is used here to characterise the entire system of sales and purchases, collating all the movements concerned in what I call the metamorphosis of money, which continually sustains monetary circulation. Immanent teleology is how I characterise M–C–M′. Here the origin of the movement, the money thrown into circulation, is qualitatively identical with the end aimed at, the money that returns to itself with its increment.

Tendency

A tendency is that which generates evolving forms of something, or directional quantitative variation in it. It is predicated on the presence of certain forces within it, or acting upon it. A tendency may be counteracted by other tendencies in a system. Thus it may well not give rise to an empirical ‘trend’. (This distinction I owe to Reuten 2019.) The question whether the so-called ‘Tendential Fall in the General Rate of Profit’ (see §83.3 Addendum) may nonetheless predominate has been a vexed issue.

Thing

As a moment of the category ‘value as existent’ it is cognate with Kant’s ‘thing in itself’; under ‘value as substance’ I characterise the commodity as a ‘thing of value’ or – simply – ‘a value’.

Time

In this work ‘time’ has two referents. First: the notional interval between two readings of accumulated value underlies the temporality of capital accumulation as a movement interiorising time; in this sense time is the ‘existent concept’ because it concretises the virtual time of succession in the formal notion of capital accumulation. Second: the duration of the production periods which are transformed into values; in this sense time turns into space (q.v.).

Totality

A totality, organised around two poles, has the following character: a) both poles are essential to each other as a matter of their very definition; b) each produces its opposite through its own movement; c) each reproduces itself through the mediation of its opposite; d) the totality is constituted out of its moments, but the totality reproduces itself in and through its moments even when the material reduced to such moments existed in some sense prior to the constitution of the totality (not merely prior to it in the exposition by science of its constitution).

Unique Universal Equivalent

Because value is a homogeneous all-pervasive substance its autonomisation in a universal equivalent must be a unique one. There are many possible bearers of the universal equivalent, but they are not compossible. The demand of the Concept is that there is actual only one such.

Use-Value

While value is posited in this work as ‘not-use-value’, use-value is not therewith permanently set aside; it comes back in as economically effective in its own right.

Valorisation

‘Valorisation’ is a neologism prevalent in the English literature to render Marx’s ‘Verwertung’, as a result of Ben Fowkes’s translation of Capital. The valorisation of capital is the generation of surplus value, ideally to be added to capital.

Value Form

This form contrasts with other forms such as ‘natural form’. It is historically specific, being actual only in capitalism. It is distinct from ‘form of value’ which is used within the presentation to refer to the various forms that value takes on such as ‘money form of value’ (see ‘Form’).

Variable Capital

I use the abbreviation ‘v’ for consistency with Marx’s notation, but for me it is a revenue paid to the wage worker and not ‘variable capital’. Since workers produce their own wages, having given credit to capital, there is no logical reason to speak of capital advanced in this respect (regardless of contingent discrepancies of wage period and production period). In any case labour power has no value even if there is a price for hiring it. So the added value is a single mass and the v returned to labour power normally less than it. So this ‘v’ is a result, not an input like constant capital.

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