- Capitalism and Alternatives -


Posted by: Red Deathy ( Socialist Party, UK ) on March 31, 1999 at 12:26:54:

In Reply to: Marx & Value posted by Joel Jacobson on March 29, 1999 at 16:13:48:

: a) Okay, let's take Marx's use-value; a value of a person's individual preferences. As a person has to give up more alternatives to make a particular choice the less likely that person with engage in that particular action.

No, a use value is precisely that- how useful an item is to that person, as such it is multi-form and various, an Encylopedia gains a new use value when I decide I can't quite reach the top shelf, and thus stanfd on it.

Like we've noted before, the use value of Alcohol to an Alcoholic is absolute, and can't be measured by gains or losses.

: c) now graph Marx's own use-value, preference scale, by drawing the line: (5,0) to (0,100), and make sure to label it use-value. This line shows that the more people have to give up for this good the less likely they will be to desire it. At cost 5 they will want none and at cost zero they will want 100.

I'm not sure if we can actually draw this line- people must have food, alcoholics must have alcohol. Further, use values are not fixed- a kitchen knife becomes an offensive weapon when pout into your pocket and carried on the street, so we can't measure use value in terms of cost or effort to gain.

: Do we have any problems? Using Marx's own concept, rather than theory (an important distinction), of value we can ascertain that a commodity with an exchange-value of 2.5 will have 50 units produced according to the socially necessary labor allocated to it. Why is it's social exchange-value at 2.5? Well, why would anyone who personally valued the item below 2.5 pay above their own subjective use-value for the item? In the same manner, socially alloted labor wouldn't be allocated to produce beyond 50 of the items as the next person who want the particular item would value it below the amount of socially necessary labor to produce it.

: I'd like some answers as to what y'all think of my analysis. Does Marx's concept of value really hold up?

This is actually a chart of effective damand, as I described in our other debate, not of labour time value. The line marked 'use-value' should actually be marked 'number required', thus 2.5 would become the cheapest price to produce the commodity, and all those above 2.5 would be numbers required tha can afford the commodity, those below are those that cannot afford it, at average quality. Thus this chart is actually a chart of classic suply and demand.

I don't think you can actually plot a graph of use value versus exchange value, except to determine effective demand- which would be a necessary preliminary to production.

At any moment an egg whisk may become absolutely essential.....

Follow Ups:

  • You awake RD? Samuel Day Fassbinder Citizens for Mustard Greens USA April 05 1999 (0)

The Debating Room Post a Followup