What is value?

July 2024 Forums General discussion What is value?

Viewing 15 posts - 61 through 75 (of 132 total)
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  • #106114
    LBird
    Participant
    Vin wrote:
    You are even more embarrassing with your attempt to understand 'value'. What with all this about bricks and clay.

    I'm truly hurt, Vin.I especially crafted my explanation to take into account your desire to use the ideology of 'Mudpieism', sorry, 'Materialism', to help you to understand reality.Yeah, I should have guessed that the complexity of a 'brick' would be a step too far.My bad, comrade!

    #106115
    SocialistPunk
    Participant

    Could I ask a question.What is the value of knowing "What is value"?

    #106116

    Where a collection of people live by swapping things they have found or made to get the useful things they want, they need a means of making sure they are getting a fair deal.  Since they won't swap things they already have a use for, the features of the things swapped will be different, and they will have nothing in common, save that they are things that have been found or made, that is to say, into which effort has been put into finding and making.  Sicne that effort is the common property, we can use that as a measure for whetehr a swap is reasonable. This enables the group of people to make sure they aren't wasting effort, and to help them divide effort up between different tasks.  Effort is somethine people do. Since we can't see the effort, we can only know it by the things people find and make, so we compare them, perhaps in terms of a third thing used like a ruler.Now, have you never been in a workplac wher you've had to think about using your time (or sharing out tasks with colelagues) in order to get things done?  That's what value does across widely dispersed groups of people.

    #106117
    alanjjohnstone
    Keymaster

    I know i am going to be crucified for this and accused of having a blinkered approach to politics but i really have a problem that over the past year we have had a series of extraordinary long threads on what i shame-faced would describe as abstract Marxist esoterics. A few times i have said i wonder how they can be related to real life…the material world…and what sort of ideology it can be presented in which can be conveyed to my fellow workers.  Over the years i have raised topics and created links to what i consider practical problems for socialist politics. Perhaps i have been wrong in my choice but it seems some are still more interested in arguing in their interpretation of the world than changing it. Discussing our internal party policies and political approach doesn't seem to be as riviting as quoting obscure writers as if name-dropping them in the pub will transform the discourse. Lbird, a few times, i have suggested you join the party…even if it is the party with the small p and not be our own but you have pigeon-holed the entire thin red line of non-market communists as little different from Leninism or Trotskyism because of this infernal materialism/idealism, is Engels a Marxist debate.It is social revolution we seek and that can only be undertaken by social action. You are now saying you may well withdraw from all engagement which IMHO, will mean  retreating into the isolated atomised position of book-worm…Knowledge is meaningless unless applied. Ideas are only material when there is action from it. I think Dietzgen said something like that somewhere, sometime…but i might have made that up in my imagination. Even Marx got fed up of the British Library and joined the 1st International to do something…even when it meant compromising with all sorts. Lets debate these things …political parties and parliament , trade unions and workers councils, community/environmental  groups and direct action. Lets discuss the manifestations of workers consciousness that are occurring in what some would say are misdirected ways. Lets ask questions of why Podemos in Spain grows and the LU undergoes splits.Let us ask the most important question….why the fuck are we all alone?Why is it that we as a party never get cited or reference in current political debate but only rarely appear as a footnote in some history article? Why are we ignored and neglected yet some academic with a few initials after his name has his obtusely worded thesis regurgitated ad nauseum. Why do all our scholarly members feel the need to leave and move on? Why are we so fucking isolated that a  few minutes on the BBC  or a brief letter to the Guardian is hailed as a breakthrough…and nothing happens…Fuck it, i get frustrated that we discuss the design of our head office front and not ask why our branches are about to disappear one by one…No doubt the moderator will now say i am off topic…and that is the most usual controversy which arises on this forum…never ever about our politics and our analysis and our application…I don't fucking care about the Law of Value….it's always going to be a thing that exists in our heads…because i can't fucking pick it up, and show it to another worker…because he won't be able to see it or touch it except in his imagination…so who fucking cares…i want to understand how to get the guy next door whether UKIP or LU to understand that we can have another world, based on the things he or she  knows about this one…that we take what is tangible and visible and take it to the next logical step of knowing…and have the confidence that it is possible to achieve a different and better  future. Rant over… 

    #106118
    SocialistPunk
    Participant

    Alan, I know where you are coming from. You are treading a dangerous path. Not long after I joined this site I thought it a good idea to get to grips with what is going wrong and I got my head bit off. I'm now seen as a trouble maker by some.

    #106119
    SocialistPunk
    Participant

    YMS, I'm sorry I should have been cleareer in my question.What I was getting at is, what value is there in knowing "What is value" in the task of getting the socialist message across to as many people as possible? What difference will it make to the average person etc? How important is it to know such a thing? That's what I was getting at.

    #106120

    Fans of chess may appreciate considering the rough scoring technique used by players to evaulate moves. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chess_piece_relative_value

    Quote:
    In chess, the chess piece relative value system conventionally assigns a point value to each piece when assessing its relative strength in potential exchanges. These values help determine how valuable a piece is strategically. They play no formal role in the game but are useful to players, and are also used in computer chess to help the computer evaluate positions.

    Now, this is exactly the same as what we are talkng about here.  Literally, when you swap pieces it's worth knowing that a bishop is worth a knight but not a rook, and note that pawns are used as the standard of value, what is a piece worth in pawns.  So, it's value is its usefullness in winning the game, but its exchange value is there when it compared with another piece.Now, the first move really is ranking the peices in order: Q>R>B>K>P after that, it's assessing the relative differences (as you can see from Wikipedia there is a degree of disagreement over whetehr bishops are worth more than knights or are equal).

    #106121

    SP, sorry, I wasn't responding to your question: the value of value is the same as any investigation, knowledge in istlf, but in terms of propaganda, it explains how we are exploited, how it is inherent to the commodity and wages systems, and cannot be ended without abolishing commodity relations.

    #106122
    SocialistPunk
    Participant

    Ahh…crossed wires there YMS.I get that knowledge is important, but knowledge is only important for socialists if it can be understood fully and passed on and so far I haven't read a clear explanation for value yet.The quote below is from the Party Speakers Handbook that was used a couple of pages back as an..err…explanation. Several words spring to mind, "mud", "clear" and "as". It's either that or I must be as thick as a plank measuring somewhere between one centimeter and one meter.Surely after 110 years there must be a clearer explanation?

    Quote:
     7. What is value?A social relationship between people which expresses itself as a material relationship between things. The value of a commodity is determined by the quantity of socially necessary abstract labour time needed for its production and reproduction. Price is the monetary expression of value.8. What is exchange value? A relative magnitude which expresses the relationship between two commodities. The proportion in which commodities tend to exchange with each other depends upon the amount of socially necessary labour-time spent in producing them. Commodities actually sell at market prices that rise and fall according to market conditions around a point regulated by their value
    #106123
    DJP
    Participant

    How about this? But it would be some help if you could try and say what it is you don't understand first..

    Revolutionary Self Theory wrote:
    For example: suppose I want a cup of coffee from the machine at work. First of all, there is the cup of coffee itself: that involves the workers on the coffee plantation, the ones on the sugar plantations and in the refineries, the ones in the paper mill, and so on. Then you have all the workers who made the different parts of the machine and assembled it. Then the ones who extracted the iron ore and bauxite, smelted the steel, drilled the oil and refined it. Then all the workers who transported the raw materials and parts over three continents and two oceans. Then the clerks, typists and communications workers who co-ordinate the production and transportation. Finally you have all the workers who produce all the other things necessary for the others to survive. That gives me a direct material relationship to several million people: in fact, to the immense majority of the world's population. They produce my life: and I help to produce theirs. In this light, all partial group identities and special interests fade into insignificance. Imagine the potential enrichment of one's life that is presently locked up in the frustrated creativity of those millions of workers, held back by obsolete and exhausting methods of production, strangled by alienation, warped by the insane rationale of capitalaccumulation! Here we begin to discover a real social identity: in people all over the world who are fighting to win back their lives, we find ourselves.http://theoryandpractice.org.uk/library/revolutionary-self-theory-beginners-manual-anon-1985

    Or this

    Fredy Perlman wrote:
    The everyday practical activity of tribesmen reproduces, or perpetuates, a tribe. This reproduction is not merely physical, but social as well. Through their daily activities the tribesmen do not merely reproduce a group of human beings; they reproduce a tribe, namely a particular social form within which this group of human beings performs specific activities in a specific manner. The specific activities of the tribesmen are not the outcome of "natural" characteristics of the men who perform them, the way the production of honey is an outcome of the "nature" of a bee. The daily life enacted and perpetuated by the tribesman is a specific social response to particular material and historical conditions.The everyday activity of slaves reproduces slavery. Through their daily activities, slaves do not merely reproduce themselves and their masters physically; they also reproduce the instruments with which the master represses them, and their own habits of submission to the master's authority. To men who live in a slave society, the master-slave relation seems like a natural and eternal relation. However, men are not born masters or slaves. Slavery is a specific social form, and men submit to it only in very particular material and historical conditions.The practical everyday activity of wage-workers reproduces wage labor and capital. Through their daily activities, "modern" men, like tribesmen and slaves, reproduce the inhabitants, the social relations and the ideas of their society; they reproduce the social form of daily life. Like the tribe and the slave system, the capitalist system is neither the natural nor the final form of human society; like the earlier social forms, capitalism is a specific response to material and historical conditions .Unlike earlier forms of social activity, everyday life in capitalist society systematically transforms the material conditions to which capitalism originally responded. Some of the material limits to human activity come gradually under human control. At a high level of industrialization, practical activity creates its own material conditions as well as its social form. Thus the subject of analysis is not only how practical activity in capitalist society reproduces capitalist society, but also how this activity itself eliminates the material conditions to which capitalism is a response.http://theoryandpractice.org.uk/library/reproduction-everyday-life-fredy-perlman-1969
    #106124
    SocialistPunk
    Participant

    DJPJust checking to see if your last post is in answer to my post?If it is I'll digest what I can and get back to you asap, with any relevant questions etc.

    #106126
    LBird
    Participant
    SocialistPunk wrote:
    Could I ask a question.What is the value of knowing "What is value"?

    In the context of the explanations that I've given, SP, perhaps if I put your question into the mouth of a parent who has children who want to play with some strange chemical:

    Parent of kids playing with, and about to touch a liquid, wrote:
    Could I ask a question.What is the value of knowing "What is acid"?
    #106127
    DJP
    Participant

    Yes it was in reply to your post immediately above..

    #106128
    LBird
    Participant
    alanjjohnstone wrote:
    I know i am going to be crucified for this and accused of having a blinkered approach to politics but i really have a problem that over the past year we have had a series of extraordinary long threads on what i shame-faced would describe as abstract Marxist esoterics.

    You won't get 'crucified for this' by me, alan.The problem is the poor explanations by socialists, since the 19th century, of really important issues for workers, but which have been explained so badly that most reasonable workers would call them 'abstract esoterics'.I've always tried to give explanations using analogies, and point out the political consequences of the explanations that have been given.On the other hand, if you're minded to leave the "intellectual leadership of workers" to someone other than workers themselves, then the 'Abstractionist-Esotericians' will take charge.I suspect that the 'A-E's will live in the big houses, give the orders, do the thinking, whilst the 'deal with the real world of politics' workers will provide the labour force.Will be a bit like capitalism or soviet communism, I have a feeling…

    #106125

    SP,after over 100-odd years evolution is still difficult to explain.  I could say "descent with modification mediated by natural selection" which is concise and explains Darwin's theory nearly entirely, but that';s still not clear, and it takes effort to kep explaining it.  Thus with value: that human effort is the only common factor to all commodities by which we can rationally exchange them.  Simple as hell, but not necessarilly complete. Enough to begin the conversation.  The speakers notes in some senses assume prior understanding by the reader, they're not an introduction.

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