What is value?

June 2024 Forums General discussion What is value?

Viewing 15 posts - 46 through 60 (of 132 total)
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  • #106099
    alanjjohnstone
    Keymaster

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lZhtRTvwR48A picture particulary a movie picture is worth a thousand words

    #106100
    alanjjohnstone
    Keymaster

    But if it is words you want, came across this on today's cyber odyssey  http://www.marxisthumanistinitiative.org/alternatives-to-capital/marx%E2%80%99s-critique-of-socialist-labor-money-schemes-and-the-myth-of-council-communism%E2%80%99s-proudhonism.html Don't know if it says much in regard to this debate but i found it a good read

    #106101
    Quote:
    I’m inclined to regard ‘exchange-value’ as the position in a social relationship, and ‘value’ as the emergent property, the ‘social acid’ that destroys human relationships.

    I'd suggest that's off-beam.  Exchange value is what happens when valuies are compred in terms of a third commodity or unit of measure.  So, it's more of the relationship between values (which in turn are an expression of the relationship between people) (at lest so for Marx).  To look at your brick analogy, dog protection is a use value. The brick contains value, which can be expressed as exchange value (and realised as price), and it's use value is forming pat of a wall.  the wall has value, which would be the value of all the component bricks and mortar, plus the abstract average socially necessary human labour time it takes to aessemble them into a wall.

    #106102
    LBird
    Participant

    So much for my hoping that analogies will explain the mysteries of Marx.YMS, all I can say about your misreading of the analogy of single brick, brick-in-a-wall, wall and dog protection, is that it is consistent with the CR concepts of a component, a component in a structure, structure and emergent property.I think that it helps explain use-value, exchange-value, capitalism and value.If it doesn't for you, that's sad, but hopefully it will help some other comrades less able than you (like me) to get a handle on Marx's poorly explained theories in Capital.Whilst comrades insist that links to texts like 'Value, Price and Profit', or, god forbid, the first three chapters of Capital itself, are sufficient as explanatory aids for workers, I think that the audience for Marx's ideas will continue to shrink.As for the notion that "workers' struggle" in itself will lead to 'consciousness', I think that's not true, and I also think that the SPGB's own strategy actually undermines that belief.It pains me to realise that cult-like behaviour includes reference to texts which are not understandable by the laity. To be clear here, I'm not referring to the SPGB alone, but to what I've started to come to see 'Marxism' in a living sense as.Of course, I  simply don't regard much of today's 'Marxism' as much to do with Marx's ideas, when I've read them for myself.I'm sure that the proponents of 'Marxism' (who I regard as 'Engelsist') will disagree with me, and they're the ones in the so-called "workers' organisations", whereas I'm not any longer, so their views will be the ones taken forward as 'Marxism'.Perhaps it's time to me to face up to the truth, that I really don't have much in common with the SWP, ICC, LibCom or the SPGB, and stop pestering them.

    #106103
    Anonymous
    Inactive
    LBird wrote:
     It's like having my own personal stalker.Do I fascinate you so much, Vin?

    Spreading Ignorance is what I am concerned with. This is a socialist site and socialists oppose your idealism.It is the material conditions of capitalism today that makes socialism possible.Your idealisms leads to Leniniism. The materialists in the SPGB pointed out to the Leninists as early as 1917 that the idea of communism cannot be imposed as the material conditions did not exist. Material conditions (or as an idealist like yourself would say 'rocks' do talk and tell us what can be achieve. Idealism and not materialism was to blame for Leninism and Stalinism.Material conditions should guide the working class not the idealism of the Leninists such as yourself.

    #106104

    Lbird,it doesn't work for me because it isn't correct and seems to add confusion rather than reducing it. A brick is a componant part of a wall, and clay is a component part of a brick.  Vertical stacking is an emergent property of bricks, which creates wall, so I think you were mixing up your categories in any case.  A brick is a brick in itself, its use-value can be included in building walls, or putting in socks and hitting people with.  It acquires value when it is created for exchange, the value comes from humans.  When it is exchanged, that value emerges as exchange value which in turn is realised through price.I remember when I first read those first three chapters and being bowled over by the clarity and care Marx put in, indeed, it's the caution and pedentic detail that makes capital a tough read, not imprecision. 

    #106105
    LBird
    Participant

    Yeah, evil 'Idealism', the culprit once again.In truth, though, and to be fair to you, Vin, the arguments that you're making are the arguments of (so-called) 'Marxism'.The real revelatory statement, which is nothing to do with Marx, and many thinkers since at least the 1920s have said prevents socialism, because it claims that something other than workers' critical thinking can build socialism, is:

    Vin wrote:
    Material conditions should guide the working class…

    No matter how often workers ask 'what determines our knowledge of what 'material conditions' are?', they can't get an answer. The 'materialists' claim that the 'material conditions' are self-explanatory, and that mere observation and experience of them by workers will suffice, but this is untrue. 'Ideas' determine 'experience' (ie. 'theory and practice'), as science has known for years since Einstein, and as Marx pointed out in Capital, prior to building, the thing to be built must exist in our ideas.How 'material conditions' guide is never explained. The proper method of Marx is to criticise the existing 'material conditions'. So, far from 'guiding', they are to be 'guided' by active, thinking, critical humans, who employ 'ideas' to shape their 'practice'.

    Marx, Capital, wrote:
    A spider conducts operations that resemble those of a weaver, and a bee puts to shame many an architect in the construction of her cells. But what distinguishes the worst architect from the best of bees is this, that the architect raises his structure in imagination before he erects it in reality. At the end of every labour-process, we get a result that already existed in the imagination of the labourer at its commencement.

    [my bold]https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1867-c1/ch07.htmOn your terms, Vin, Marx was an 'Idealist'. Must be a shock to you, all this 'imagination' stuff, 'before' and 'already existing' our 'material conditions'.Good luck to being lead by the 'mud pies' and 'rocks'. Sorry, 'guided'.My apologies, I won't be joining you on that journey. 'And I'm not the only one…'

    #106106
    LBird
    Participant

    YMS, I've already pointed out that a 'structure' can form a 'component' for a higher-level 'structure', so I've already said that a 'wall' can also be a 'use-value'.The real problem is, you're already determined not to understand the analogy, because you apparently already understand Capital, from simply reading it. Most workers, including me, don't, and what's more, although you claim to understand it, you won't explain, any further than quoting from works that are the very ones that are not understood. Surely you can see the logical problem?Unless we find a way of explaining Marx's ideas, that doesn't involve merely repeating Marx's ideas (as if the Victorian method of constant repetition to a 'thick child' will suddenly produce 'enlightenment'), then Capital will remain unread and not understood.Of course, for those who claim to have understood, and not have a commitment to democracy, that situation is fine, because a 'knowing elite' who do understand can provide the 'guidance' for workers'. They can, of course, pretend that this 'guidance' comes from 'material conditions', and so hide their active role in the presence of the passive workers…As for:

    YMS wrote:
    I remember when I first read those first three chapters and being bowled over by the clarity…

    I'm not sure if you're taking the piss out of me.I have never, ever, e v e r, heard anyone say that before. Not even the Leninists or Anarchists. Perhaps it's me who's leading the sheltered life.Or, you are the messiah…

    #106107
    Anonymous
    Inactive
    LBird wrote:
     On your terms, Vin, Marx was an 'Idealist'. Must be a shock to you, all this 'imagination' stuff, 'before' and 'already existing' our 'material conditions'.Good luck to being lead by the 'mud pies' and 'rocks'. Sorry, 'guided'.My apologies, I won't be joining you on that journey. 'And I'm not the only one…'

     As I thought you believe communism should/could have been imposed by sheer 'willpower'. (or perhaps a bunch of leaders). A Leninist distorting Marx. Nothing new there.  

    #106108

    But I'm not quoting Marx back at you, I'm explaining in my own words. The fact that I'm not getting what you're trying to say from your analogy suggsts to me that it isn't a succesful way of clarifying the ideas.  Now, I've explained that value is about social production using commodities, and about dividing the time of society among the different productive activities : something that is readily understandable to anyone who has ever been in a workplace and had a gaffer shouting 'Time is money' at them.  That's all you need to understand to understand value.Now, I'll agree that going back to Capital over the years there are nuances and aspects that I missed in my first reading of it, but that would be true of most books I've returned to later on.  I'm not taking the piss, I'm relaying my experience.

    #106109
    Anonymous
    Inactive
    LBird wrote:
    How 'material conditions' guide is never explained. The proper method of Marx is to criticise the existing 'material conditions'. So, far from 'guiding', they are to be 'guided' by active, thinking, critical humans, who employ 'ideas' to shape their 'practice'.

    Confused idealism. Seperating the 'critical human' from the 'critical human'  

    #106110
    Anonymous
    Inactive
    LBird wrote:
    , you won't explain, any further than quoting from works that are the very ones that are not understood. Surely you can see the logical problem?
    LBird wrote:
     Marx, Capital, wrote:A spider conducts operations that resemble those of a weaver, and a bee puts to shame many an architect in the construction of her cells. But what distinguishes the worst architect from the best of bees is this, that the architect raises his structure in imagination before he erects it in reality. At the end of every labour-process, we get a result that already existed in the imagination of the labourer at its commencement. [my bold]https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1867-c1/ch07.htm
    #106111
    LBird
    Participant
    YMS wrote:
    But I'm not quoting Marx back at you, I'm explaining in my own words.

    YMS, all the SPGB members have recommended Marx's texts, rather than explain using their own words.You are not explaining in your own words, but using Marx's concepts.

    YMS wrote:
    Now, I've explained that value is about social production using commodities…

    [my bold]Need I say anymore?

    YMS wrote:
    …something that is readily understandable to anyone who has ever been in a workplace and had a gaffer shouting 'Time is money' at them. That's all you need to understand to understand value.

    [my bold]That's just laughable, YMS.

    YMS wrote:
    I'm not taking the piss, I'm relaying my experience.

    No, if there's one thing I've come to understand about you, YMS, you are serious about your position, and humour plays little part in it.My experience is the complete opposite. Workplaces are not teeming with workers who, simply from their experience of bullying 'gaffers', understand the nature of 'value', and why it is dangerous to humans.For me to judge whose 'experience' is the norm, yours or mine, I can look to society today, after generations of the aforementioned 'gaffers'.I see my opinions confirmed, rather than yours.If your opinion on this issue prevails in the SPGB, why does the SPGB bother to argue for propaganda and education by socialists amongst their fellow workers?That's the strategy that appeals to me, and why I came to this site, after reading ALB and alanjjohnstone's contributions on LibCom. But I seem to have found the opposite, just the usual guff about "it's all obvious to workers through their practice and experience" and about "material conditions" talking to/leading/guiding the workers.If what you argue is true, why isn't there a mass movement of worker-socialists on this planet? If it's easy to understand 'value', Capital is a doddle, and both the 'material conditions' and "workers' own experience" are all conspiring in our favour?It's not a world I recognise, YMS.

    #106112
    LBird
    Participant
    Vin wrote:
    LBird wrote:
    , you won't explain, any further than quoting from works that are the very ones that are not understood. Surely you can see the logical problem?
    LBird wrote:
     Marx, Capital, wrote:A spider conducts operations that resemble those of a weaver, and a bee puts to shame many an architect in the construction of her cells. But what distinguishes the worst architect from the best of bees is this, that the architect raises his structure in imagination before he erects it in reality. At the end of every labour-process, we get a result that already existed in the imagination of the labourer at its commencement. [my bold]https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1867-c1/ch07.htm

    You really are tiresome, Vin.I'm quoting Marx to show he agrees with my explanation, not quoting him as the explanation.Do try to keep up. Ask the 'material conditions' to explain the 'subtleties' to you, if necessary.

    #106113
    Anonymous
    Inactive
    LBird wrote:
     Ask the 'material conditions' to explain the 'subtleties' to you, if necessary.

     You continue to reveal your ignorance of materialism and material conditions. Yo are 100% idealist. An idealist who claims to be a communist. Very dangerous. We only have to look at the old state capitalist Russia to see where that leads. You will not convince anyone here to join the only idealist communist in the village. I am not surprised you get all upset when asked to define your terms. Your mind has been befuddled with Leninist analysis.You are even more embarrassing with your attempt to understand 'value'. What with all this about bricks and clay.Have a look at Marx and some party literature and get back when you understand what we mean by 'material conditions' and value.  

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