- Capitalism and Alternatives -

Same as ever...

Posted by: Red Deathy ( Socialist party, Uk ) on November 05, 1999 at 16:22:15:

In Reply to: What is the labor value of... posted by Stuart Gort on November 04, 1999 at 18:51:18:

: ...undeveloped land in Newport Beach vs. Hemet, CA?

depends on what planning permission or possible uses the land can be put to.

: ...a rookie card of Mickey Mantle?

Que? i presume thats some sort of trading card: uniqueness and otehr cultural preferential factors can alter the *price* - Marx was always clear that cultural factors can allow for variations over value.

Value is a logic which works as an aggregate over the whole market, unique items, themselves, would not seem to bear value (although 5they would be priced with reference to it).

: ...a Cadillac vs. a Buick?

Labour time would be a factor there, certainly, because both are trying to deliver quality as cheaply as possible.

: ...a brain surgeon with 20 years experience?

The amount of time taken to aquire the skills, maintain and reoproduce the skills - exactly the same method of calculation as a street sweeper with two days experience.

: ...a menu from the last night of dinner aboard the Titanic?

Again, unique item.

: ...high fashion?

Cultural factors, allowing price to be held above value.

: ...dinner at Spago's vs. McDonald's?

Time and quality would out, you'd be paying for what you're getting.

: I'd love to see what happens when our intrepid engineers start mucking about with these values in the context of their theories. See, one must eliminate discretionary income and wipe out conspicuous consumption for this labor theory to have any validity.

Not at all: for one thing, as I said, LTV works as an aggregate across the economy, its a theory for industrial production, so the vast majority of teh time, it works.

Secondly, value is distinct from price, we can always buy and sell above or below value: indeed, according to Marx, price varies according to supply and demand around the point of value - many of the items you mentioned above were unique, i.e. rare, i.e. in extremely short supply.

Further, we can factor in teh semiotic value of buying for exchange values sake - why buy diamonds? because everyone knows they have a high exchange value, likewise morons who buy big off-road cars for going to the shops in 'I've got money', they are saying.

Again, I ask, if you are saying prices are a measure of desire, what is teh metric? What are people measuring desire in? What is money in your model? For me, money is simply a commodity itself, if it is for you, then by what process are you comparing money and commodities to express a price?
: Stuart Gort

Follow Ups:

The Debating Room Post a Followup