- Capitalism and Alternatives -

On the speculators use-value

Posted by: Gee ( si ) on November 03, 1999 at 14:10:19:

In Reply to: Good luck! posted by Samuel Day Fassbinder on November 03, 1999 at 13:04:16:

: SDF: Not necessarily. Capitalism breeds a class of people who are called speculators, who make their money simply by buying and selling properties without using them. The profits of speculators have NOTHING to do with the "use-values" of the products they trade, at least not to the speculators themselves.

What use are the bought and sold commodities to the speculator? Lets say its coal. Well the use isnt to heat, it doesnt get used just sold on for more than it is bought. So the use-value to the speculator is in its potential to be sold for more money. If we arent going to have use0value objectovely and specifically defined for each product then we must leave it as open as the above scenario. We can discuss the right and wrongs of speculators as a seperate issue.

: Thus arguing that "profit is based on use value" tells us nothing about profit from the perspective of those who make a profit.

It can hint at what kind of 'use' the profit making person had for the object in question though cant it? I think its interesting that you seem to be suggesting objects have objectively definable uses. hmmm, seems unlike the usual subjectivism of socialist thought.

: SDF: So profit is based on the exchange values accumulated by the capitalist, NOT on the use values enjoyed by the consumer. Glad we cleared that up.

I dont think we were overly disagreeing - I was saying that neither you, I nor a whole department of 'scientific socialists' can calculate consumer use value without making a command-economy hash of the whole thing - so exchange value is *all* we have as data.

: SDF: As I have pointed out many times as well, the fact that people "want to trade" something that is "useful to them" means NOTHING if they can't meet the ASKING PRICE of a product.

I wouldnt disagree with that.

: To repeat, furthermore, things are traded for their mere exchange value, esp. precious metals, having nothing to do with the use of a thing.

see above, with 'use-value' as subjective as that its too nebulous a concept to make pin-down statements about.

: Furthermore, the price of a product has nothing to do with its usefulness to the consumer.

but its the way we can 'guestimate' the relation, otherwise were trying to mind read, or more dangerously think in place of the consumer.

: The idea of "profit being based on use value" is therefore at best a non-sequitur, and at worst a complete falsehood. It's like saying "apple production is based upon orange production".

You mean to say its not? Anyway - I think the best "profit being based on use value" can tell us is that it broadly indicates how useful people find things relative to other things (hence they trade for A not B) etc. not much beyonf that.

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