Value-form theorists love to repeat a statement of Marx that seems to have been first marked by Rubin in the 1920s.
“Political economy has indeed analysed, however incompletely, value and its magnitude, and has discovered what lies beneath these forms. But it has never once asked the question why labour is represented by the value of its product and labour time by the magnitude of that value.”
“The concept of labour must be defined in such a way that it comprises all the characteristics of the social organisation of labour, characteristics which give rise to the form of value, which is appropriate to the products of labour.”
As the name implies, the value-form school places great emphasis not simply on the value of commodities and the magnitude of value, but also on the appearance value takes in a commodity producing society. Rubin argues “that value arises not only from the substance of value (i.e. labour) but also from the ‘form of value’”
This argument resonates with a very large body of labor theorists today because of one simple fact: What we today call money is a valueless token issued by the fascist state and controlled by it through its laws and central banks.
This fact suggests Marx fundamentally misunderstood a critical category of the capitalist mode of production. Since the movement of capital begins and ends with money, you cannot misunderstand money without misunderstanding both the beginning and end of the movement of capital itself.