[OPE-L:3485] Re: measurement of value

From: Andrew Brown (Andrew@lubs.leeds.ac.uk)
Date: Mon Jun 12 2000 - 06:17:03 EDT

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Regarding the theory of demand:

is there really much more to say, at the *abstract* level (ie
generalising over all markets in the manner of microeconomics),
than banalaties:

demand depends negatively on price, positively on income/wealth,
and upon 'tastes'. Banalaties that are turned into falsehoods by the
their treatment, as ahistorical and indivdualistic, in neoclassical
theory (ie by their being posited as exogenous and independent of
one another).

Ben Fine's work on consumption demonstrates the power of Marx's
value theory for dealing with demand whilst at the same to showing
that such treatment of demand must be done at a more concrete
level than Marx's Capital, incorporating a wealth of historical and
social detail for each specific market.

ie he demonstrates that Marx doesn't *ignore* demand, rather Marx
preforms the abstract theoretical work necessary in order to
theorise demand correctly.


On 12 Jun 2000, at 10:54, Paul Cockshott wrote:

> At 11:25 11/06/00 -0400, you wrote:
> >
> >So this delimitation of the category of commodity, which I agree that Marx
> >accepts upon initial analysis, does not answer the specific question. I am
> >saying that if we don't pinpoint successful market exchange as the point
> >that goods acquire value, then not only would we have to consider
> >inventories as already having acquired value but also (and why not?)
> >production that is not even intended to be sold on the market (say the govt
> >using tax money to hire workers in a transportation dept to build
> >roads--have these roads too acquired value?)
> Yes, but they only aquire exchange value if the government sells them off.
> > Market exchange is the source of value.
> >
> >"whenever by an exchange we equate as values our different products, by
> >that very act, we also equate as human labor the different kinds of labor
> >expended on them."
> The quote does not say the same thing as your summary above.
> It says that when exchanging we equate the labours embodied. Value
> is embodied labour, thus when we are exchanging we are equating
> values. The labour was human labour prior to its product being exchanged.
> Marx's criticism of Ricardo is that he did not explain why abstract human
> labour had to appear as exchange value rather than directly as amounts
> of labour. I.E., he took the historically limited form of representation of
> value in capitalist society as given.
> Ajit wrote
> > >You need to ask one
> > >question to yourself, and may be your Hegelian friends, does Marx have a
> > >theory of
> > >demand?
> You do not really reply to this. Quoting somebody else as saying that
> demand in capitalist society stems from accumulation - a disputable
> thesis anyway - does not answer the question as to where in Capital
> is the chapter on demand. Ajit was saying that if Marx thought that demand
> was crucial to the determination of value he would hardly have overlooked
> an explicit examination of it. Those economists who do think that demand
> is crucial to the determination of value attempt to construct a theory of it.
> Marx did not.

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