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Value Form Theory, Open Marxism & the New Reading of Marx

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter in a book

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOpen Marxism IV
Subtitle of host publication Against a Closing World
EditorsAna Cecilia Dinerstein, Alfonso García Vela, Edith González, John Holloway
Publisher or commissioning bodyPluto Press
ISBN (Electronic)9781786805423
ISBN (Print)9780745340241, 9780745340258
DateSubmitted - Jan 2019
DateAccepted/In press - 11 Feb 2019
DatePublished (current) - 20 Nov 2019


This chapter charts the theory of the value-form found in, on one hand, the New Reading of Marx (NRM), and, on the other, Open Marxism (OM). The latter is in part an outgrowth of the former, insofar as they launch a complementary overhaul of how we think about the relationship between value, labour and capitalist society. But it also marks a critical contribution, accompanying the former’s stress on the social form of value with a stern emphasis on the concrete antagonistic social relations of class society that serve to constitute value and are contained not only logically but historically within it. By moving critically within the latter, OM helps restate the centrality of class struggle at the core of the NRM’s ‘monetary’ theory of value, facilitating an understanding of the forces that intervene in the struggle with, against, despite and beyond the value form.
This has produced mutual criticisms and creative tensions between NRM and OM, leading to the complementarity of the one with the other. By bringing an understanding of the constitution of abstract social forms in continuing concrete forms of human practice and domination, OM suggests that the unfolding the value form as presented in Marx’s Capital is not simply a logical derivation but a historical process based in the forceful dispossession and separation of individuals from the means of reproducing their conditions of living in order to create a class of wage labourers. It also suggests that behind the apparent ‘non-empirical reality’ of value lie antagonistic social relations that have a real-life efficacy mediated in abstract social forms. In this, OM’s critique of the NRM is also what affords the possibility of its complementarity with, and extension of, the latter.

    Structured keywords

  • Global Political Economy
  • MGMT Work Organisation and Public Policy
  • MGMT theme Global Political Economy

    Research areas

  • Marx, Value, Capitalism, Critical Theory



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