- Capitalism and Alternatives -

Well well well

Posted by: Stoller on November 27, 1999 at 13:13:56:

In Reply to: Well... posted by Red Deathy on November 26, 1999 at 12:52:03:

Greetings, RD. I think I can anticipate your quotes. One is:

[T]he price of things which have in themselves no value, i.e. are not the product of labor, such as land, or which at least cannot be reproduced by labor, such as antiques and works of art by certain masters, etc., may be determined by many fortuitous combinations. In order to sell a thing, nothing more is required than its capacity to be monopolized and alienated.(1)

(Which will be good news to the Ayn Rand cultists who insist that the 'individual's mind'---i.e. creativity---IS indeed monopolized and alienated---although I'm sure they'd use more flattering terms...)

Then there is:

When we refer to a monopoly price, we mean in general a price determined only by the purchasers' eagerness to buy and ability to pay, independent of the price determined by the general price of production, as well as by the value of the products.(2)

(Which should have Gee (and other STV cultists) jumping up and down with unconstrained ecstasy.)

Contrary to what a certain sour liberal may have said, I do more than slavishly quote the Founding Fathers of Marxism. I have, on occasion, brought my own thinking into the Marxian project for consideration.

And, to some extent, in this case, I will insist upon the logic of my thinking in this case as well.

---Although I MUST give credit where it's due. Victor Perlo has influenced my thinking on this topic (coin collecting, to be specific).

Here goes...

No antique dealer or collector ever knows how many antiques are out there. On this score they must speculate. And, indeed, that's just what they do. Each time they go out LOOKING for antiques, they anticipate that there are more to found (even if the search becomes progressively more arduous each time around).

This process of looking is LABOR.

The same applies to art.

We have all heard about those amazing 'lost' treasures to be discovered even by the most venerable of artists. A newly-discovered litho here, a newly-found canvas there. No one can be entirely certain the canon is entirely complete. And EACH TIME a new work appears, it affects the value of the preceding 'entire' canon one way or another. Again: a finite amount of objects with the finite amount UNDETERMINED.

The determination (looking) is LABOR.

So... I have extrapolated Marx's theory of differential rent to such matters because, after all, differential rent is a matter of monopoly.

Hope you are well.



1. Marx, Capital, volume three, International 1967, p. 633, emphasis added.

2. Ibid., p. 775, emphasis added.

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