- Capitalism and Alternatives -

The above is true if consumer demand is being met.

Posted by: DonS ( USA ) on December 09, 1999 at 10:28:42:

In Reply to: Here it is (with correct link) posted by Stoller on December 04, 1999 at 00:24:03:

::: What if something has no use-value?---the favorite straw man of pro-capitalists when they first confront Marx's theories...
::: If something is WORTHLESS (or costs more to make than the average necessary social time required), then the person who makes this item will SOON GO BANKRUPT---or give it up.

Don: Now I have your definition of "average necessary social time". And I must disagree with your above statement. The cost to make the item must be less (by some margin) than what consumers are willing to pay.

: Don: What do you mean by "average necessary social time required".

: Marx: 'The labor-time socially necessary is that required to produce an article under the normal conditions of production, and with the average degree of skill and intensity prevalent at the time.'(1)

: Say there are ten widget producers.

: Nine of them make their widgets using hand-held hammers and an anvil, a process that produces one widget an hour. The tenth, however, has invented a steam-hammer that spits out twenty an hour.

: Initially, the nine widget producers constitute the average time it takes to produce a widget.

: The guy with the steam-hammer, nonetheless---or shall I say because of this---, is under-selling everybody and making a killing on the market.

Don: He has NO reason to reduce the price (and under-sell the competition) unless consumer demand is being met.

: Pretty soon, everybody else buys a steam-hammer (perhaps from an eleventh guy who has approximated the design) and within time EVERYBODY produces twenty widgets an hour.

: Except, maybe, some peasant proprietor who still uses a hammer & anvil. This guy is on the fast track to bankruptcy because he can either sell his widgets at his 'average' cost (one per hour, or nine times the price everybody else sells them for) which no consumer would accept* OR he can sell at the REAL average (which would be his loss).

Don: The above is true if consumer demand is being met. If demand outstrips supply despite the new steam-hammer, it is possible for the original price to continue . . .

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