This section is called “The form of value or exchange-value”
Page 47: “Commodities come into the world in the shape of use-values, articles, or goods, such as iron, linen, corn, &c. This is their plain, homely, bodily form. They are, however commodities, only because they are something two-fold, both objects of utility, and, at the same time, depositories of value. They manifest themselves therefore as commodities, or have the form of commodities, only in so far as they have two forms, a physical or natural form, and a value-form.”
Lurking within the physical form of a commodity is a value form; that is, it is an expression of value. It has value and may be treated (indeed, is treated, and was produced to be treated) as a container of value. Not all things that have value are commodities (ie, undeveloped land); but all commodities have value.
“The value of commodities is the very opposite of the coarse materiality of their substance, not an atom of matter enters into its composition. Turn and examine a single commodity, by itself, as we will, yet in so far as it remains an object of value, it seems impossible to grasp it. If, however, we bear in mind that the value of commodities has a purely social reality, and that they acquire this reality only in so far as they are expressions or embodiments of one identical substance, viz., human labour, it follows as a matter of course, that value can only manifest itself in the social relation of commodity to commodity.”
Value is meaningless in a single, isolated commodity. It becomes important when that commodity is placed beside another of a different kind; then they enter into a relationship based on their values. The relationship is, to be precise, exchangeability.
“Everyone knows, if he knows nothing else, that commodities have a value-form common to them all, and presenting a marked contrast with the varied bodily forms of their use-values. I mean their money-form.”
Check. Even the most stubborn, ignorant adherent to the Chicago School is aware that commodities are traded for money, and (though he may never have thought about it) that money has little in common with the physical form of the commodity it is buying.
“Here, however, a task is set us, the performance of which has yet even been attempted by bourgeois economy, the task of tracing the genesis of this money-form, of developing the expression of value implied in the value-relation of commodities, from its simplest, almost imperceptible outline, to the dazzling money-form. “