What is value?

April 2024 Forums General discussion What is value?

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  • #106174

    I'm now lost.  You say I didn't answer a question that I thought I was answering, so I don't see how scrolling back a few posts would do me any good, I'd only find the question I thought I'd answered.AFAICS you asked "what is the underlying philosophical basis of 'soylent green', in your view, that allows us to explain day-to-day, simple experiences of workers, in the first place, as an inital step, and thus provide a basis for an explanation of something much less obvious, that is, the concept of 'value'?" And I answered that because soylent green revealed that a popular consumer product was in fact human flesh, this is a useful way into understanding that the commodities which we 'consume' in capitalism which appear to use as simple objects that stand in relation to our cash, are in fact the products of (and part) of human labour, we eat the lives of our neighbours.  Seeing that the world we live in is a created one (created by us as humans in co-operative labour) is an important political step to seeing that the world can be re-made.  Also understanding that modern life is created by other people's labour is a step to understanding the poltitical case for socialism: we make the world sotgether, shy shouldn't we share it.Finally, I'd suggest the cannibalism motif gets to a certain revulsion that I think you're aiming for with your social acid trope.

    #106175
    LBird
    Participant
    YMS wrote:
    And I answered that because soylent green revealed …

    How the hell does 'soylent green' explain a rock? Watch? Brick? Car? Castle?

    YMS wrote:
    AFAICS you asked "what is the underlying philosophical basis of 'soylent green', in your view, that allows us to explain day-to-day, simple experiences of workers, in the first place, as an inital step, and thus provide a basis for an explanation of something much less obvious, that is, the concept of 'value'?"

    [my bold]YMS, just give up, will you? You stick to 'soylent green', and I'll forget about the SPGB.Deal, eh?

    #106176

    LBird,Ah, I see.  Considering this thread is about explaining value, I read your question in that light, rather than as a general question about epistemology.  What soylent green says about a car, a watch, a brick, is that they are parts of a human, created by human labour, and twhen you enter into any relationship with that object, you are entering into a transferred human relationship with the human beings who brought it before you (even if they are now present).  So, I suppose the philsoophical basis of soylent green is historical matrialism… *ta-ra-oops* (Comedy trombone).

    #106177
    LBird
    Participant
    YMS wrote:
    What soylent green says about a car, a watch, a brick, is that they are parts of a human, created by human labour, and twhen you enter into any relationship with that object, you are entering into a transferred human relationship with the human beings who brought it before you (even if they are now present).

    Good luck with that explanation, YMS.I see that you removed 'rock' from the list, but I'm past caring.

    #106178

    Lbird,I dropped rock because we're discussing value, and rocks aren't (generally) the produce of human labour.

    #106179
    LBird
    Participant
    YMS wrote:
    Lbird,I dropped rock because we're discussing value, and rocks aren't (generally) the produce of human labour.

    YMS, what bit don't you understand about what you wrote:

    YMS, post #123, wrote:
    LBird,Ah, I see. Considering this thread is about explaining value, I read your question in that light, rather than as a general question about epistemology.

    'Epistemology' is about understanding (and thus closely related to explaining).So, explaining 'rocks', 'volcanoes', 'elements', 'light', 'bricks', 'walls', castle, 'watches', 'cars' AND VALUE is a 'product of human labour'.You're a 'materialist', and 'materialists' claim that human don't have to 'produce knowledge' of 'material things' (like your opinion about 'rocks'), because 'matter', for the 'materialists', talks to humans.This is why you're forced to remove a natural product from a list that includes everything that can be explained by the same method as 'value'.'Knowledge' is a 'human, social, product' and that applies as much to nature (eg. rocks) as to society (eg. value).Your problem, as for all the 'materialists', is that you can't openly say that you employ 'ideas' to understand 'matter', because then I'll simply ask 'which ideology do you use to understand rocks?', and you won't (and can't) answer, because to a materialist any questions about 'ideas/ideology' is 'idealism'.The materialists got this nonsense from Engels, not Marx.For Marx, 'material' meant 'social production' (and not 'matter'), and 'social production' requires both 'theory and practice', and thus the production of knowledge (whether of rocks or of value) is social, historical and ideological.I've said this numerous times to you, personally, YMS (never mind to others), but you keep insisting that a 'rock' tells you what it is, by individual, biological  senses.One can't tell 'what a rock is' without an ideological theory.The ideology you employ is 'bourgeois individualism', and so you won't have a Communist telling you that a vote is required with your comrades for you to determine what a rock is.You 'know' what a rock 'is', and you won't let democracy deprive you of your 'experience' of your world. Never mind Einstein.Can't you leave me alone, now, YMS?I feel like Sisyphus, and you're my 'rock'.

    #106180

    The concept of rock certainly is a product of human labour, but not necessarily social labour, and thus it doesn't need to have value. 

    #106181
    moderator1
    Participant
    LBird wrote:
    YMS wrote:
    Lbird,I dropped rock because we're discussing value, and rocks aren't (generally) the produce of human labour.

    YMS, what bit don't you understand about what you wrote:

    YMS, post #123, wrote:
    LBird,Ah, I see. Considering this thread is about explaining value, I read your question in that light, rather than as a general question about epistemology.

    'Epistemology' is about understanding (and thus closely related to explaining).So, explaining 'rocks', 'volcanoes', 'elements', 'light', 'bricks', 'walls', castle, 'watches', 'cars' AND VALUE is a 'product of human labour'.You're a 'materialist', and 'materialists' claim that human don't have to 'produce knowledge' of 'material things' (like your opinion about 'rocks'), because 'matter', for the 'materialists', talks to humans.This is why you're forced to remove a natural product from a list that includes everything that can be explained by the same method as 'value'.'Knowledge' is a 'human, social, product' and that applies as much to nature (eg. rocks) as to society (eg. value).Your problem, as for all the 'materialists', is that you can't openly say that you employ 'ideas' to understand 'matter', because then I'll simply ask 'which ideology do you use to understand rocks?', and you won't (and can't) answer, because to a materialist any questions about 'ideas/ideology' is 'idealism'.The materialists got this nonsense from Engels, not Marx.For Marx, 'material' meant 'social production' (and not 'matter'), and 'social production' requires both 'theory and practice', and thus the production of knowledge (whether of rocks or of value) is social, historical and ideological.I've said this numerous times to you, personally, YMS (never mind to others), but you keep insisting that a 'rock' tells you what it is, by individual, biological  senses.One can't tell 'what a rock is' without an ideological theory.The ideology you employ is 'bourgeois individualism', and so you won't have a Communist telling you that a vote is required with your comrades for you to determine what a rock is.You 'know' what a rock 'is', and you won't let democracy deprive you of your 'experience' of your world. Never mind Einstein.Can't you leave me alone, now, YMS?I feel like Sisyphus, and you're my 'rock'.

    1. The general topic of each forum is given by the posted forum description. Do not start a thread in a forum unless it matches the given topic, and do not derail existing threads with off-topic posts.  Final warning.  LBird is suspended for an indefinite period.

    #106182
    SocialistPunk
    Participant

    LBird, YMSI have the utmost respect for the two of you, you are both widely read and are storehouses of useful knowledge, but you seem to be locking horns yet again.Please, please, no more talk of acids, films with Charlton Heston and rocks (BTW an accurate description of his acting). This is a difficult subject anyway, as can be gathered by how so few SPGB members have bothered to involve themselves. I urge the two of you to work together to help me and others (forum members and site visitors) to better get to grips with this subjectSo far Vin is the closest with a simple explanation that also touches on the anti human process of commodity fetishism, that transforms humans into economic units.

    Vin wrote:
    The world market consists of millions of commodities being exchanged and every commodity has a price tag roughly determined by the cost of its production (labour and matrials) and these costs determines the ratio of exchange. Our wage is our price tag for our time and abilities. The commodity purchassed with a 'wage' is a unique commodity in that it produces more than it costs. The surplus is taken by the capitalist class.

    Two things spring to mind. Either this subject is too complex to simplify in any useful way and that there is no substitute to serious study of Marx's works and others. If that is the case then Alan is 100% correct in that it is of no concern to socialists in trying to convince the majority of workers of the need to rid themselves of the humiliations and limitations of capitalism and actively engage in the construction of a socialist world.

    #106183

    SP,Start with your own day.  You break your time up to achieve various tasks. So, eating, washing, household chores, etc.  Some time you spend "at work".  Value, in a sense, is like doing such a breakdown for the entire of humanity.  In order to make that work, people need to know that the goods they receive are equal in effort to the goods they give away, otherwise between us someone would be putting unecessary amounts of eeffort into a given task.That's it, it's that simple.  If that's not clear, you'll need to tell us how it's not clear, and ask some questions about what's confusing you.

    #106184
    SocialistPunk
    Participant

    YMSI get the overall concept….err…. I think. It's like when I compared it to theoretical physics. The general concept forms in my mind but when I try to grasp it, as in trying to explain to someone else, I find I don't understand it quite enough. I then have to go back to the drawing board.Is that a problem? I don't know, should it be?It's probably because I'm not that turned on to the subject. However I'm finding the videos from Kapitalism101 are stirring my interest, it's probably the cartoons. If my interest is stirred sufficiently, it'll sink in. It's how it is for me, if a subject hits the spot that's it, I'm hungry for more. If it doesn't hit the spot then I struggle to stay awake. That doesn't mean that subject is lost to me forever. The fact I posted here means my interest is stirred, so ya never know.

    #106185
    DJP
    Participant
    SocialistPunk wrote:
    I get the overall concept….err…. I think. It's like when I compared it to theoretical physics. The general concept forms in my mind but when I try to grasp it, as in trying to explain to someone else, I find I don't understand it quite enough. I then have to go back to the drawing board.Is that a problem? I don't know, should it be?

    Think it sounds fairly normal for learning anything new. Get a little notepad and just scribble things down as though you're answering questions someone is asking you, and think of more questions they could ask. That's how I try and learn things now…

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