- Capitalism and Alternatives -

The $100 Candy Bar Revisited

Posted by: Barry Stoller on December 02, 1999 at 16:19:02:

Agitating against the STV (Silly Theory of Value), I put forth the proposition:

I mean, what if you were retarded and paid $100 for a candy-bar. Would that REALLY make that candy-bar 'worth' $100?

And expanded:

Say the production of candy-bars is 30 constant, 30 variable, leaving 40 surplus.

Then the manufacturer determines how many cranks are willing to overpay.


Now the manufacturer's competition sells them for $90---which the crank, who's getting low on cash, readily purchases.

Then the first candy-bar manufacturer responds by charging only $80.

And so on.

When will the price-war stop?

Where else can it stop?

It stops at the point where production costs leave NOTHING for profit.

No matter what ANY CUSTOMER thinks.

And Don responded:

This indicates that the candy bars were not selling well enough at $100. After all, why lower your price to undercut the competition if enough cranks are willing to pay $100?


Exhibit A: Sam Walton.

Exhibit B: China (consider the current objections voiced by U.S. steel unions concerning 'dumping').

There are exceptions, however. As I later said:

When I speak of competition, I do not especially refer to the superannuated notion of price competition. I refer to competition of production process (which includes labor), advertising, and---especially---access to special privileges and subsidies maintained by the government.

Due to the sporadic nature of my (several) debates with Dons, I think the exceptions I spoke of seemed to be contradictions...

Some industries still face price competition (steel). Others do not (Microsoft comes to mind).

The dialectic of capitalism is always in flux (as Marx and Engels noted in 1848).

Nonetheless, MOST commodities sell at an AVERAGE profit. (Hence, the $1 candy bar---NOT the $100 candy bar.)

Others, do not. Expatiation here.

Thanks to Don for a good debate---which (unfortunately) I failed to answer carefully at the time...

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