An Incontestable Argument for the Law of Value

January 2023 Forums General discussion An Incontestable Argument for the Law of Value

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  • #230445
    Prakash RP
    Participant

    ‘The reality of the value of commodities differs in this respect from Dame Quickly, that we don’t know “where to have it.” The value of commodities is the very opposite of the coarse materiality of their substance, not an atom of matter enters into its composition. Turn and examine a single commodity, by itself, as we will, yet in so far as it remains an object of value, it seems impossible to grasp it. If, however, we bear in mind that the value of commodities has a purely social reality, and that they acquire this reality only in so far as they are expressions or embodiments of one identical social substance, viz., human labour, it follows as a matter of course, that value can only manifest itself in the social relation of commodity to commodity. In fact we started from exchange value, or the exchange relation of commodities, in order to get at the value that lies hidden behind it. We must now return to this form under which value first appeared to us.
    (excerpts from section 3, Chapter 1, Capital Volume 1; it occurs @ https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/download/pdf/Capital-Volume-I.pdf)

    Never ever did I confuse the term ‘value’ with use-value. Nevertheless, from the above citation, it’s evident that Marx regarded commodities as ‘object of value’ as well as ’embodiments of one identical social substance, viz., human labour’ and remarked that ‘value can only manifest itself in the social relation of commodity to commodity.’ I fail to understand how this view clashes with my reply #230406.

    #230448
    Prakash RP
    Participant

    ‘How then would you go about determining the relative contribution of different kinds of labour – skilled or unskilled – to value if …?’

    Whether the concept of gravity is true is one question, whether it’s measurable or how to measure it is completely a different question.
    I cannot see how your query is relevant to the question of the validity of my position on value & wage labour.

    #230449
    Prakash RP
    Participant

    The point missed is in order to be saleable, the stuff must possess some value that happens to be the product of useful human labour alone.

    • This reply was modified 7 months, 2 weeks ago by Prakash RP.
    #230455
    DJP
    Participant

    But things which in and for themselves are not commodi­ties, such as conscience, honour, etc., can be offered for sale by their holders. Hence a thing can, formally speaking, have a price without having a value.

    #230457
    Prakash RP
    Participant

    Are you aware of an instance of the sale of ‘conscience, honour, etc.,’ by someone?

    #230458
    robertjohn581
    Participant

    Nice Post

    #230459
    DJP
    Participant

    “Are you aware of an instance of the sale of ‘conscience, honour, etc.,’ by someone?”

    This is a reference to things like bribery.

    Prakash, I have to confess I was playing a cheap trick on you. This is a passage cut and pasted from page 197 of Capital Volume One.

    #230460
    DJP
    Participant

    “Whether the concept of gravity is true is one question, whether it’s measurable or how to measure it is completely a different question.”

    But “value” is not an eternal law of nature, it’s a form of social relations between people that is mediated through things. Unless people are in that form of relationship, it doesn’t exist.

    #230461
    Prakash RP
    Participant

    Mine?

    #230462
    ALB
    Keymaster

    I fail to understand how this view clashes with my reply #230406.

    Maybe you can’t understand this, but everybody else can.

    Marx’s view (or definition, if you like) is that “value” is not a material thing that can sensed by the senses. You can subject a use-value offered for sale to examination by a microscope and you won’t find an atom of “value”. Value (on Marx’s definition) only becomes observable as “exchange-value” when a commodity is exchanged for another commodity. Value, for him, is not a material thing but is a relation between things (and ultimately between those who produced them). A use-value that is not produced for sale has no value.

    You have a different definition (nothing wrong with that in itself). You seem to be defining it as some sort of “stuff”, something that can be perceived by the senses that exists independently of whether the use-value is exchanged or not. As you said in #230406:

    I can’t see why the ‘value’ of a commodity should be ‘unappreciable’ by senses of the sensible.

    I am not sure exactly what it is that you think can be perceived by the senses as “value” in a free-standing use-value destined to be exchanged as a commodity.

    So we have two different definitions of value. To judge which is the more useful we need to see which can explain better the workings of a society where production for sale is predominant.

    #230463
    Prakash RP
    Participant

    Hi DJP, I’m ready to welcome a thousand such ‘cheap trick‘ of yours.
    Nevertheles, I’m well aware of Marx’s view of ‘conscience, honour, etc.,’, and I think Marx was plain wrong to view such stuff thus. In ‘things like bribery’, people sell sorts of illicit services (sorts of commodities) for money the filthy lucre, as I see it.

    #230464
    Prakash RP
    Participant

    Society is a part of nature, and laws of social evolution & revolution are universal & eternal like laws of nature.

    Value appears to be an eternal, universal & natural product of human labour.

    Besides, I don’t think it matters much whether value follows ‘an[y] eternal law of nature’.

    #230465
    DJP
    Participant

    Prakash, you are free to define and use the words “commodity” and “value” any way you like.

    But be aware the way you are using them runs counter to how Marx used them, so you can’t claim to be defending his theory. And also, the way you choose to use these terms does not provide any explanatory or predictive advantage, only disadvantages.

    So, for now, there is no more to say..

    #230468
    Prakash RP
    Participant

    Hi DJP, you’ve again passed a damn silly remark, I’m afraid to say. I’m Not here to relish my freedom to do whatever I like. I’m here to share my views on important issues and take part in debates on them with a view to finding the TRUTH as I’m aware that it’s the conflict between views & counter-views that leads us to the TRUTH. You’ve proved, by this remark, unworthy of participating in debates.

    #230469
    Prakash RP
    Participant

    ‘Marx’s view (or definition, if you like) is that “value” is not a material thing that can [be] sensed by the senses. You can subject a use-value offered for sale to examination by a microscope and you won’t find an atom of “value”. Value (on Marx’s definition) only becomes observable as “exchange-value” when a commodity is exchanged for another commodity. Value, for him, is not a material thing but is a relation between things (and ultimately between those who produced them).’

    Your life, life philosophy, true character, your belief or disbelief in God, religion etc., your stance on feminism, racism. fascism, welfarism, Putin’s aggression against Ukraine, etc. too are, like the ‘”value”‘, non-material things. Nevertheless, none of them are imperceptible to senses of a sensible human.

    Because stars become visible at night, it doesn’t follow that stars are born at night & die off all together at the end of night.

    Your life philosophy, true character, etc. also become truly known (‘observable’) only through your actions & behaviour (i.e. your social intercourse with other humans), Not by your mere words. From this it doesn’t follow that all these attributes of yours come into being during your social intercourse and then disappear when you’re alone.

    ‘A use-value that is not produced for sale has no value.’ This statement by you is refuted by the simple argument that use-values produced for self-consumption are as much saleable as those produced for sale.

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