Intrinsic Value?

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Alaric Malgraith
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Jun 22 2012 07:07
Intrinsic Value?

In the first volume of Capital I seem to remember Marx mentioning and quickly passing over the fact that prices can be attributed to commodities that have not emerged from a labour process (virgin forests and fields, etc) and so these must be involved in a value relationship, even though it has not been directly produced by the labour-time of variable capital. Where could this value come from? Is it extracted from the aggregate surplus value (like the salaries of nonproductive workers)?

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Jun 22 2012 08:06

Things can have a price that deviates from their value and things can also have a price but no value. There are both structural & accidental reasons for the deviation of price from value - some of the more structural reasons are dealt with in Vol 3 although that process is a different thing from what you've raised here

This second paragraph below from Vol 1 is probably what you're thinking about

But it's important to read it in the context of the paragraph before it which introduces the wider topic about the difference, and incongruity, between price and value

Vol1 Ch3 wrote:
Magnitude of value expresses a relation of social production, it expresses the connexion that necessarily exists between a certain article and the portion of the total labour-time of society required to produce it. As soon as magnitude of value is converted into price, the above necessary relation takes the shape of a more or less accidental exchange-ratio between a single commodity and another, the money-commodity. But this exchange-ratio may express either the real magnitude of that commodity’s value, or the quantity of gold deviating from that value, for which, according to circumstances, it may be parted with. The possibility, therefore, of quantitative incongruity between price and magnitude of value, or the deviation of the former from the latter, is inherent in the price-form itself. This is no defect, but, on the contrary, admirably adapts the price-form to a mode of production whose inherent laws impose themselves only as the mean of apparently lawless irregularities that compensate one another.
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The price-form, however, is not only compatible with the possibility of a quantitative incongruity between magnitude of value and price, i.e., between the former and its expression in money, but it may also conceal a qualitative inconsistency, so much so, that, although money is nothing but the value-form of commodities, price ceases altogether to express value. Objects that in themselves are no commodities, such as conscience, honour, &c., are capable of being offered for sale by their holders, and of thus acquiring, through their price, the form of commodities. Hence an object may have a price without having value. The price in that case is imaginary, like certain quantities in mathematics. On the other hand, the imaginary price-form may sometimes conceal either a direct or indirect real value-relation; for instance, the price of uncultivated land, which is without value, because no human labour has been incorporated in it.

Re your post - I think first of all it's important to recognise that just because something has a price and is sold as a commodity this doesn't mean that it has value in the sense that Marx uses it, i.e. value isn't created in the sphere of circulation/market

The establishment of a Price for something in the market that is not a product of labour does not infer Value back onto that object in the way that you suggest it may do. So it's not really a question of where that value comes from as there is no Value (in Marx's sense) as such to speak off. Someone buying an item that has a price but not value is effectively just taking part in a redistribution of previously produced, existing value (through the exchange of their money for that item, i.e. in value terms it's a unequal transaction)

The quote about the uncultivated land falls into this same type of basic analysis

andy g
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Jun 22 2012 10:34

oisleep is dead right but is it worth focussing specifically on the theory of ground rent as the basis for the determination of land prices? what do you reckon Alaric?

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Jun 22 2012 10:47
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Re your post - I think first of all it's important to recognise that just because something has a price and is sold as a commodity this doesn't mean that it has value in the sense that Marx uses it, i.e. value isn't created in the sphere of circulation/market

So... just let me try to understand the political implications here. We're talking about price of things, that isn't require labour to acquire. Basically this can only be two things: land and people.

The land property and commodity in Marx's time was related to a different ruling class other than the industrialist capitalists, namely the land lords, or in other terms it was the remnants of the ancient regime. Do you think it is correct to say that while in the world the land property owners are not really the straight descendants of landlords but because they essentially have the same social function, ie. holding and letting out a property that wasn't produced by anybody, they are the material manifestation of the continuity between capitalism and almost about any previous epoch, when the land was the source of power as such. This could include the European and Asian feudalistic societies, and the slave keeper despotism which we can observe in the history of the American continent similarly to the North African and Asian antic societies. In addition, land property has a quite exciting status within the capitalist mode of production then, as it is usually controlled by special legislation that differs from any other commodity. Basically, the state (Teh Nation under God) is the ultimate owner of the land, even if there's a pseudo-private property legislative framework that makes it look like as a proper capitalist commodity in times and in other just like the ol' fashioned feudum/beneficium.

The other thing that I could think of that is distinct from the land is the people. In previous epochs, land and people were intimately bound to each other as the land was not only the workplace of the serfs, but also the means of re-production of their lives. Hence the serfs and peasants belonged to the land and their social status stemmed from the ancient slave position, that is, the restrictions of their movements, the justice system run by the landlord, etc. In Europe, partly in Asia, this intimate relation was broken by emerging capitalist agriculture. The special status here is mostly in the Americas and south-Africa. No wonder than, that the large scale capitalist agriculture had revived the old ways of acquiring labour force, that is, using outright slavery. At this point, I think the issues of the landless movements and the government granted Latifundia come in to play as a conflict between the two poles of social reproduction that looks external to capitalism in some industrialism focused class analysis. However, the contradiction here is quite complicated, as the land is acquired by capital, buying/renting land with money that originates in wage work, however the people of the land (both the indigenous people and also the vast pool unemployed agriculture workers, often coming from slave background or desperate immigration, due to the drop in the demand of living work force), can't access to their means of reproduction, and can't access the wage work either.

The ever-green "price vs .value" issue which is at the heart of the critique of the Marxian analysis of capitalism from the bourgeois economist argument, seems like runs in to the same problem, what physics and quantum mechanics in particular, that while discovering the rules of physics gives a great understanding, but gives nothing about the past-present-future without knowing the time line, in our case, what we call history.

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Jun 22 2012 10:58
andy g wrote:
oisleep is dead right but is it worth focussing specifically on the theory of ground rent as the basis for the determination of land prices? what do you reckon Alaric?

Marx's theories of ground rent (well at least the two different types of differential rent and absolute rent) are very much grounded in value and value production however. So while they provide a way of looking at value production & distribution in areas like agriculture and energy (i.e. sectors where there is a monopoly like control over non-reproducible productive assets) within a framework of a labour theory of value, I wouldn't have thought they have anything to say about the question asked in the OP which seems to focus more on the qualitative divergence between price and value for things that are sold which are not products of labour

Most of marx's attention on rent was on looking at differential & absolute rent. Both of these are situations where a surplus profit is made over and above the 'normal' (i.e average profit rate) profit, which in turn is appropriated by owners of the land from the capitalist (who obviosuly in turn appropriated it from labour, however these days the distinction between agricultural capitalist and land owner have pretty much collapsed but that doesn't change the underlying concept of surplus profit used in Marx's theory of rent).

This surplus profit is not a result of the commodity selling above it's value however (or more correctly above its price of production which is the intrinsic value/price) - but a case of the product selling at its value. But because of productivity differentials either between different lands (producing differential rent) or between agriculture and industry (producing absolute rent), this means particular producers can produce at below that value level and thuse make an additional profit. One which because of the various barriers and lack of efficient competition is not equalised out through competition as it would do in other sectors, but instead remains within that sector and is siphoned off as rent (as opposed to going into societal profit averaging)

Meaning overall, the product is still sold at its value/price of production, labour still receives the value of its labour power, capital still makes the average (societal) profit, and landowner receives a rent for doing nothing (even less 'work' than the capitalist). This rent can then be captalised to give the land a value/price - and all of this can happens without contravening the basic labour theory of value - i.e. all distribution, profit, rent, wages is out of produced value and everything is paid at its value/price of production (obviously in reality prices will deviate from values for all kind of other reasons in the market, but assuming, as it is always assumed in capital that things exchange at their value/price of production, then his analysis/exposition of rent is very much based in and on the production of value by labour in the process of production)

andy g
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Jun 22 2012 11:53

fair enough. I thought the references to virgin forest and fields in the OP hinted at a discussion of ground rent in particular. my bad.

Jehu@rethepeople
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Jun 23 2012 15:00

Price is an individual attribute of an object while value is a social attribute -- it is the material socially necessary labor time of the community as a whole. In general, the sum of all prices have to equal the sum of all socially necessary labor time in the community. But there is nothing to suggest the price of each individual object is a measure of its labor time. First, for example, not all things having a price are a product of labor. Second, not all things requiring the expenditure of labor time are socially necessary. Value is not just labor time, it is socially necessary labor time alone. It is entirely possible for a thing to embody human labor time and have a price yet be utterly superfluous to the community, and thus without value at all.

We can think of value as the pot from which the prices of all objects are drawn, but these objects, to which prices are attached, may in fact be entirely without value themselves.

Additional comment: This is not only necessary to explain why things having no value may have a price, but, more importantly, things that have value -- that are socially necessary -- may have no price, i.e., why crises emerge.

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Jun 23 2012 16:30
Jehu@rethepeople wrote:
But there is nothing to suggest the price of each individual object is a measure of its labor time. First, for example, not all things having a price are a product of labor. Second, not all things requiring the expenditure of labor time are socially necessary.

A more fundamental reason for prices at the individual level not reflecting a measure of the object's labour time, and one which applies across capitalist commodity production & exchange in general (i.e. it applies even in the absence of your two examples above) is the process that Marx covers in section II of volume 3 - the transformation of values of commodities into prices of production and the formation/equalisation of the average rate of profit

So in this development of analysis from Vol 1 & 2, while total value is still equal to total price at the social level and total surplus value is equal to total profit/interest/rent at the social level. At the individual level it is not an accident that brings about a difference between the price and the value of an object but a structural feature of the system itself (unless the organic composition of the individual capital happens to be the same as the social average)

Dave B
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Jun 23 2012 16:44

Capitalists tend to calculate a ‘value’ or exchange value of a business or enterprise according to how much profit it generates.

Thus if you had two mines that were identical as far as number of workers, wage levels constant and fixed capital etc.

And say the actual amount of capital invested in both was say £100 million

And say the average rate of profit for capitalism was 10%.

And say the first mine made that 10% profit or a profit of £10 million.

Then that would be fine.

If the other mine made a profit of £100 million because it was more productive and it produced that much more ore per worker etc.

Then the capitalists would tend to value that mine at say £1,000 million or 10 x £100 million.

The difference between the £1000 million and £100 million (The intrinsic real 'value' of the invested capital) or in other words £900 million would be the exchange value of the ‘Land’.

It does come under the differential ground rent theory which was mainly applied to the differences in productivity of agricultural land.

Agricultural land can have labour and value invested in it eg drainage systems and well it had been ‘manured’ etc

This could be a cause of friction between ‘capitalist’ tenant farmers on long say 10 year leases and the landowners.

The tenant farmer would be tempted to improve productivity and real value of the land by investing value into it but realised he couldn’t take it away with him on the expiry of the lease.

It forms the background to plots in 19th century fiction ie George Elliot.

Karl would say I think that the value of products of the land that were naturally subject to variable productivity would be the amount of labour time required to produce it on the least productive land or mine etc.

And the excess exchange value generated from the more productive land would come out of the surplus value generated elsewhere or overall as its products feed into general economic production.

Along with Merchant capital it is i think one more complicated areas of volume III

Jehu@rethepeople
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Jun 23 2012 23:12

I would agree with that. The fact that price and value are different and distinct things raises only the possibility of divergence. It does not, of itself, make this divergence necessary. Moreover, it does not explain why, at present, within the capitalist mode of production, prices have no relation to values at all -- even at the social level.

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Jun 24 2012 14:15
Jehu@rethepeople wrote:
The fact that price and value are different and distinct things raises only the possibility of divergence. It does not, of itself, make this divergence necessary

well if you ascribe to Marx's view on this (from Vol 3), then unless every single individual capital has exactly the same organic composition then this divergence is actually a necessary, and not just an accidental, feature of capitalist production & exchange

In marx's schema, before things like market price is even considered we have a transformation from value to 'prices of production' (both of these things however are still measures of social necessary labour, not money/price itself) and then the 'intrinsic' market price is this 'price of production' expressed in money (before any fluctuations around this pivot for things like supply/demand and changes in value of money take place)

So this step from value to price of production (which all other things being equal would result in a difference between the value of an object and its 'intrinsic' market price) is, in marx's terms, a structural & necessary movement, not an accidental one

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Jun 24 2012 20:40

I was just reading that section today and i was logging in pretty much to ask the same question... At the moment im going through a neoclassical 101 economics textbook at the same time as im going through capital (my summer reading..) and im looking forward in paricular to the chapter explaining marginal utlilty.

On david harveys marx course, he seems to give a rather crude argument that marginal utility theory was formulated because of the implications of a fully worked out labour theory of value would have to go towards marxian conclusions, and thus in order to defend the bourgious mode of production an entirely new theory of value was sought out. Obviously i am not in a position to judge but that to me does seem somewhat implausable.

Heres the thing, in that above quoted section by oisleep, it does seem to be the case that marx allows for intangible things or things furnished by nature but not transformed by labour to axquire the status of commodity but not having value but price being the term which links value weaved commodities with those aformentioned other commodity status items. Also as capter 1 in the very beginning sections seems to point out that something that is worked upon can only become a commodity if it is useful to someone else and thus acquires the power to be exchanged. A commodity has to have use value if it is a commodity.

If that be the case does not the concept of use value not leave marxes argument open to some kind of marginal utility explanation towards value alongwith labourtheory of value?

Sorry if the above seems like confused ramblings, thast probably because they are!

One other thing, since im just about to get to the chapter on marginal utility... why would marginal utility account of value be so detrimental to a marxist framework? what are the implications?

Jehu@rethepeople
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Jun 24 2012 21:29

@oisleep Jun 24 2012 10:15

I am sorry, did you you think I was disagreeing with you? That was not my intention. I was only emphasizing that price and value are distinct things, no matter what additional processes determine their actual relation. Sometimes this is overlooked. Even with the transformation of values into prices of production, this remains true. What is socially necessary in fact has an antagonism at its very core in Marx's theory.

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Jun 24 2012 22:06
xslavearcx wrote:
On david harveys marx course, he seems to give a rather crude argument that marginal utility theory was formulated because of the implications of a fully worked out labour theory of value would have to go towards marxian conclusions, and thus in order to defend the bourgious mode of production an entirely new theory of value was sought out. Obviously i am not in a position to judge but that to me does seem somewhat implausable.

To me it does sound highly probable but how much Marx was the turning point for bourgie economics, hard to tell. Karl Held for one thought that before the publication of Capital Vol 1, economists using marginal approaches like Gossen were actually ignored because it was not hip at the time, but after Capital was released suddenly everyone in the bourgie camp went apeshit over it. Held thinks there's a huge correlation, and I find it hard to deny that the marginal utility approach masks social relations in capitalism to the extreme. Methodological individualism and the whole homo oeconomicus hocus pocus is just one side of the medal.

Speaking of which, I kinda find it funny how those of the marginal school "find" minimal "inconsistencies" in the Marxist framework like the money commodity or the "transformation problem" (both pretty much non-problems if at all) and say this makes the whole thing crumble to pieces, but if you point out that their idol of the perfectly rational human being does not exist, they throw a shitfit...

xslavearcx wrote:
If that be the case does not the concept of use value not leave marxes argument open to some kind of marginal utility explanation towards value alongwith labourtheory of value?

The problem with marginal utility is that it sees the price as given and derives utility from it via lots of mathematical abra kadabra (just ask me - I study that shit). Circular logic kicks in when you try to derive prices from these marginal utilities.

Moreover, marginal utility is a quantification of use value, which may seem uncontroversial on an individual level but not on the social - and that's the crux, their methodological individualism does not see the fault in starting with the individual, then going to the social ("microeconomic foundation" they call that), as opposed to the marxist approach which starts with the social and largely deems the individual irrelevant for the analysis of capitalism.

xslavearcx wrote:
One other thing, since im just about to get to the chapter on marginal utility... why would marginal utility account of value be so detrimental to a marxist framework? what are the implications?

It basically masks the social relations of capitalism, and that's basically all it's good for. It cannot account for how value comes into being, how social relations produce and reproduce themselves, and it has an obnoxious tendency to be apologetic as fuck (ever heard of Human Capital? Now that's a joke.)

If you read German, this totally rips into the marginal school. Don't think there's an English translation anywhere but the whole thing is just so awesome...

Jehu@rethepeople
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Jun 24 2012 23:41

@xslavearcx Jun 24 2012 16:40

The answer to your question whether use value could ever be twisted into the concept of utility is No. In Marx's theory there is no abstract usefulness. An explicit assumption of the labor theory of value is that all usefulness is particular and concrete and play no role in the value of a commodity. To link this in any way to utility requires the rejection of this argument, and would not fall within Marx's theory.

However, the point of bourgeois theory is not to modify the labor theory of value but to overcome it in some practical fashion in order to remove socially necessary labor time as the regulator of social production. There is no damage to the labor theory of value if a way can be found to replace value as the regulator of social production. This, in fact, is the purpose of planning in any economy. It has always been understood that planning would effectively nullify the law of value; so bourgeois attempts to overcome the law are not at all surprising. The attempt should ultimately fail, since the aim of such planning would still be to maximize the production of surplus value. Bourgeois planning simultaneously tries to abolish the law of value and retain value creation as the aim of production. Ha!

andy g
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Jun 25 2012 07:35

xslavearcx, if it's summer reading you're after you could have a look at these critiques of marginalism by Hilferding and Bukharin....

http://www.marxists.org/archive/hilferding/1904/criticism/index.htm

http://www.marxists.org/archive/bukharin/works/1927/leisure-economics/

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Jun 25 2012 22:54

Thanks for those comments all. Food for thought when i get to the chapter on marginal utility and as i attempt to plow through capital.

Thanks also andy g for those texts. If i get through the current list (which im not too confident about!) then i will definately be having a look at them

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Jun 27 2012 03:18

@xslavearcx Jun 25 2012 18:54

Thanks for your question. It set off a number of lines of thought for me.

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Jun 27 2012 11:10
Jehu@rethepeople wrote:
Second, not all things requiring the expenditure of labor time are socially necessary. Value is not just labor time, it is socially necessary labor time alone. It is entirely possible for a thing to embody human labor time and have a price yet be utterly superfluous to the community, and thus without value at all.

I think you're confusing value with use-value here (even if the latter is seen at an aggregate society level). "Socially necessary" does not refer to some (normative) index of social utility. It refers not to the utility of the product of labour, merely the amount of labour time necessary to produce any article, regardless of it's utility. It's a key insight that capitalism can produce items that are of little (or even harmful) utility, because it serves the overall drive for profit. But that does not make the labour time expended in their production not socially necessary labour time. It is the time that is socially necessary or not, not the product. Value is a measure, not a norm. Hence the contracdition between the results of production for profit and that for human need, does not represent a violation of the law of value, but its vindication.

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Jun 27 2012 18:14

exactly - socially necessary is what is socially necessary for capital, not for society itself

S. Artesian
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Jun 27 2012 19:28

I might add here that I think Marx's comments on rent, and landlords, are his most problematic, and historically inaccurate remarks.

And I don't believe there is any such thing as intrinsic value. Land, water, wind, have precisely zero intrinsic value. Ownershipof land claims an "as if" value; as if ownership were a product of labor; as if this conversion of nature had been the produce of labor.

andy g
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Jun 27 2012 20:33

yeah, think you're right S Artesian. Marx's work on rent etc seems very much something in progress than the finished article. Seem to remember Harvey arguing that titles to land should be seen as a form of fictitious capital as they simply confer the right to appropriate future rental income analogous to shares conferring the right to appropriate a portion of future surplus value

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Jun 28 2012 01:52

@ocelot Jun 27 2012 07:10

This is a very tricky conversation because we are dealing with three distinct categories which are often conflated and each must be precisely specified: value, exchange value, price. Usefulness is necessary for value -- an object cannot have value unless it is useful to another, but it can still have a price and even exchange value.

For instance, a nuclear missile submarine has a price tag; but since it has no usefulness, it is entirely without value and the labor expended on it cannot be considered socially necessary labor time. Moreover the particular socially necessary labor time required to produce a commodity has nothing to do with its exchange value or price.

At least this is how I approach the question; I am open to seeing another approach to it.

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Jun 28 2012 08:11
Jehu@rethepeople wrote:
For instance, a nuclear missile submarine has a price tag; but since it has no usefulness, it is entirely without value and the labor expended on it cannot be considered socially necessary labor time.

Usefulness =!= use value. A commodity must have use value as I think you know, which is distinct from what you mean by usefulness (at least how I read it).

When the sub appears as a commodity, it has use value, value and exchange value, without those it would not be a commodity. Socially necessary labor time is understood a bit differently by Marxists, it's not about whether the commodity is socially necessary but as ocelot said, about the time of abstract labor embodied in it (Hagendorf would term this marginal labor value):
Value is a measure, not a norm. Hence the contracdition between the results of production for profit and that for human need, does not represent a violation of the law of value, but its vindication.

http://libcom.org/forums/theory/intrinsic-value-22062012#comment-486641

Jehu@rethepeople wrote:
Moreover the particular socially necessary labor time required to produce a commodity has nothing to do with its exchange value or price.

It has everything to do with those two categories. They wouldn't even exist (in capitalism) without value. Price is how value manifests itself in the market1. Exchange value is value in a commodity-commodity exchange relation (I hope the value theorists won't slap me for being sloppy on this), Rubin called value the "regulator of production".

  • 1. Hagendorf made the proof via microeconomic equilibrium theory that in a perfect market, value is equal to price. My own theory is that the divergence of value and price tell us something about market structures, which I think should be obvious. If price > value, we either have a monopoly (or oligopoly at least), or a fairly "young" market with lots of opportunities for fresh capital accumulation, if value > price we have a competitive market - note that capitalists still make a profit if they sell their commodities under value, this is outlined early on in Vol III of Capital.
Angelus Novus
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Jun 28 2012 08:58

The term "use-value" simply refers to the commodity in its material dimension, as a physical artifact (or act, in the case of a service). Whether or not a nuclear submarine meets your moral criteria for "usefulness" is completely irrelevant, since that has nothing to do with Marx's concept.

P.S. The German sociologist and publicist Wolfgang Pohrt wrote a book back in the 70s, "The Theory of Use-Value", which engaged in a sort of romantic lamentation for the "disappearance" of use-value under real subsumption. This kind of thinking is just conservative narrative of cultural decline dressed up in half-understood Marxist jargon.

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Jun 28 2012 15:07

@Railyon Jun 28 2012 04:11

By usefulness I mean only use value, of which a nuclear missile sub has none. If it did, the concept of socially necessary labor time would immediately be the labor time expended by society; socially necessary labor time would lose all meaning for us. It would essentially be whatever is demanded in the market, which it clearly is not. A nuclear missile sub is not a commodity.

As to what "Marxists" understand, that is neither here nor there, since what passes for "Marxism" these days is very much a matter of which "Marxist" you ask.

I agree Value is a measure and not a norm; but this measure must be denominated in a commodity money. Hence what constitutes socially necessary labor time in an economy can only be determined by a commodity money and not the prices of commodities.

Finally, if the socially necessary labor time of a commodity had anything to do with its price, neither untouched virgin land nor a nuclear missile sub would have a price. The price of the individual object is not determined by their individual labor times, but by socially necessary labor time on the level of the entire economy. This price then acts upon individual labor times to forcibly adjust them proportionally. This is in the first chapter of capital, where Marx states: "our investigation will show that exchange value is the only form in which the value of commodities can manifest itself or be expressed."

This statement implies that the exchange value of a commodity is not its value -- rather, it is distinct and separate from this value in Marx's theory. The individual socially necessary labor times of a commodity has nothing to do with this exchange value, and can have nothing to do with it because individual producers do not know what the socially necessary labor times of their commodities are in Marx's theory. If they did, they would simply price their commodities to express this measure and we would be done with analysis of the value form.

What "Marxists" understand about this is not my concern.

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Jun 28 2012 15:08
S. Artesian wrote:
And I don't believe there is any such thing as intrinsic value. Land, water, wind, have precisely zero intrinsic value. Ownershipof land claims an "as if" value; as if ownership were a product of labor; as if this conversion of nature had been the produce of labor.

This seems right to me. If someone has ownership of a forest she can sell that forest but it doesn't mean that the forest has value as understood by Marx. The forest has a price but in this case this is essentially political rather than economic. For whatever historical reasons ownership resides with a certain individual and for a certain price this can be transferred. This has nothing to do with the reproduction of value analysed by Marx as the method of reproduction of the capitalist social relations except that probably some of the money transferred has been extracted from surplus labour. If there is a problem with what I have said please let me know.

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Jun 28 2012 15:26

@Angelus Novus Jun 28 2012 04:58

I am sorry, but this is not complete. Use value is an expression of the interchange between mankind and nature, of the metabolism of human society. You will have to show me how a nuclear submarine is part of this metabolism. I do not have to prove a nuclear submarine is not a use value, you have to show how it is. Simply stated, you have to show why this object would be necessary under another more advanced mode of production. Usefulness must be measured for us by what would be socially necessary from the standpoint of a fully developed communist society. We are concerned not only by what is socially necessary under the existing mode of production but also what of this would be necessary from the standpoint of a more advanced mode.

This is to say, what is socially necessary from the standpoint of the capitalist mode of production may be entirely superfluous from the mode that succeeds this mode. This argument is made by Postone in "Time, Labor and Social Domination" to uncover the category of superfluous labor time.

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Jun 28 2012 15:56
S. Artesian wrote:
I don't believe there is any such thing as intrinsic value. Land, water, wind, have precisely zero intrinsic value.

You are correct, but other than the (slightly misleading) thread title, there has been no mention, either explicitly or implicitly, of such a concept as 'intrinsic value' on this thread

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Jun 28 2012 15:55
Jehu@rethepeople wrote:
Simply stated, you have to show why this object would be necessary under another more advanced mode of production. Usefulness must be measured for us by what would be socially necessary from the standpoint of a fully developed communist society. We are concerned not only by what is socially necessary under the existing mode of production but also what of this would be necessary from the standpoint of a more advanced mode.

When analysing capitalist social relations, imperatives and tendencies we are concerned only with capitalist social relations, imperatives and tendencies

Capitalism is a historically specific set of social relations and these cannot be examined & understood under some kind of universal, a-historical and de contextualised abstraction away from those very specific social relations that are trying to be analysed & understood

Looking at what may or may not be necessary from a standpoint of a more advanced mode of production provides little help in analysing and understanding the dynamics of the current one

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ocelot
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Joined: 15-11-09
Jun 28 2012 15:57
Jehu@rethepeople wrote:
Simply stated, you have to show why this object would be necessary under another more advanced mode of production.

He really doesn't...

Apart from anything else, such a condition - based on the ability to accurately forecast the production schedules of a future, as yet unformed, communist society - is logically absurd. If that condition applied to the category of use value then it could not exist at all, as nothing could reliably be determined to be "necessary" in another more advanced mode of production. Your confusion of moral and analytical categories results in total incoherence.

Jehu@rethepeople wrote:
This is to say, what is socially necessary from the standpoint of the capitalist mode of production may be entirely superfluous from the mode that succeeds this mode. This argument is made by Postone in "Time, Labor and Social Domination" to uncover the category of superfluous labor time.

Well I haven't read Postone, but if he actually does spend time concocting such absurd categories, then I shan't bother.