Issue 10: Spring/Summer 2005

‘The Carnival of Values and The Exchange Value of Carnival’

In this issue of The Commoner we are beginning to clear a path (or maybe several paths) out of the dust emerging from the front line, and try to make sense of what is the reason for the smoke and sparks. We see a strange phenomenon occurring: what we practice is often not what we value and what we value is often not what we practice (and in saying this let us not forget that “practice” means many diverse things: work, shopping, eating, filling forms, writing, taking the train, watching the telly, harvesting a crop, reading, struggling, changing nappies … and each and one of these involve direct or indirect relations to the “other”).


  • Introduction by the editors: The Carnival of Values and The Exchange Value of Carnival [PDF]
  • David Graeber: Value as the Importance of Action [PDF]
  • Massimo De Angelis: Value(s), Measure(s) and Disciplinary Markets [PDF]
  • George Caffentzis: Immeasurable Value?: An Essay on Marx’s Legacy [PDF]
  • Harry Cleaver: Work, Value and Domination [PDF]
  • David Harvie: All Labour is Productive and Unproductive [PDF]
  • Mariarosa Dalla Costa: Development and Reproduction [PDF]
  • Mariarosa Dalla Costa and Dario De Bortoli: For Another Agriculture and Another Food Policy in Italy [PDF]
  • Silvia Federici: Women’s Land Struggles and the Valorization of Labour [PDF]

It is an indisputable fact, though one difficult to measure, that women are the subsistence farmers of the planet. That is, women are responsible for and produce the bulk of the food that is consumed by their families (immediate or extended) or that is sold at the local markets for consumption.
[Silvia Federici]

Heraclitus saw the apparent fixity of objects of ordinary perception as largely anillusion; their ultimate reality was one of constant flux and transformation. What we assume to be objects are actually patterns of change. A river (this is his most famous example) is not simply a body of water; in fact, if one steps in the same river twice, thewater flowing through it is likely to be entirely different. What endures over time is simply the pattern of its flow. Parmenides on the other hand took precisely the opposite view: he held that it was change that was illusion. For objects to be comprehensible, they must exist to some degree outside of time and change. There is a level of reality, perhaps one that we humans can never fully perceive, at which forms are fixed and perfect. From Parmenides, of course, one can trace a direct line both to Pythagoras (and thus to Western math and science) and to Plato (with his ideal forms), and hence to just about any subsequent school of Western philosophy.
[David Graeber]