[OPE-L:4144] Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: use value and value

From: TonyTinker (TonyTinker@email.msn.com)
Date: Tue Oct 17 2000 - 23:35:58 EDT

I would like to echo Steve Keen's observations (below) concerning the
importance of use value in Marx.

Attempts to define use value in terms of properties that are "intrinsic" to
an object alone, miss the social character of use values, and thus obfuscate
their role in dialectical (and political) movement.  Use values stand in
relation to value (exchange value) in much the same way as "labor" stands in
relation to labor power (capitalism's expropriation of the latter, and
consequential degradation of the former, is the formula for its own
self-destructive tendency).  In a more general way, use value (embodying
unalienated human and social potential) stands in opposition to value
(exchange value).  So important were these concerns for Marx, that he began
his opus (Volume 1) with a definition of the commodity in terms of use value
(and value).

Tony Tinker

----- Original Message -----
From: Steve Keen <s.keen@uws.edu.au>
To: <ope-l@galaxy.csuchico.edu>
Sent: Tuesday, October 17, 2000 1:52 AM
Subject: [OPE-L:4129] Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: use value and value

> Michael,
> To see where I am coming from on this--where I argue that Marx's analysis
> of capitalism can't be understood without appreciating how he used the
> concepts of use-value and exchange-value--you should read the footnote to
> pages 267 and 268 of the Grundrisse (Penguin edition). It *is* something
> quite deep, which most Marxists have failed to appreciate, and about which
> Marx was quite passionate. His best statement on that front is in his
> commentary on Wagner, where he wrote:
> "only an obscurantist, who has not understood a word of Capital, can
> conclude: Because Marx, in a note to the first edition of
> Capital, overthrows all the German professorial twaddle on `use-value' in
> general,therefore, use-value does not play any role in his work." (Carver,
> T., 1975. Karl Marx: Texts on Method, Basil Blackwell, Oxford. p. 198-99)
> Rosdolsky much later observed that:
> "How often has the thesis of the `contradiction between use-value and
> exchange value' been repeated? On the other hand, how often has anyone
> really taken the trouble to develop this thesis or regard it as something
> more than a survival of the time when Marx `coquetted with the Hegelian
> manner of expression'? In reality we are dealing here with one of the most
> fundamental discoveries of Marx's economics, the neglect of which makes
> conclusions in the theory of value and money appear utterly distorted".
> *Rosdolsky, R., 1977. The Making of Marx's Capital, Pluto Press, London.,
> 133.)
> I argue that this was the core of Marx's logic after 1857, and that when
> properly applied, it contradicts the labor theory of value assertion that
> labor is the only source of surplus. I can't say I have many supporters
> (amongst marxists) on that front! However, if you read Marx properly, then
> after 1857 it is impossible to justify any reading of Marx which does not
> give this dialectic primacy. Unfortunately, most interpretations of
> Marx--by friends and foes alike--completely ignores this aspect of his
> thought.
> Cheers,
> Steve
> At 20:52 16/10/00 -0700, you wrote:
> >Steve, use value, as I read it is something more general than the
> relationship to
> >labor under capitalism.  Water has the same use value no matter what form
> of mode
> >of production exists.   Use value, as I understand it, consists of the
> properties
> >inherent in an object.
> >
> >It exists irrespective of the personal situation of an individual.  To
> shift to
> >another example, a cigarette has no use value to me, but it still has a
> use value
> >because of its inherent properties.
> >
> >One example makes my interpretation weaker: where a commodity may confer
> status
> >upon a person.
> >
> >Maybe I am wrong.  This whole thing seems rather simple to me.  I am not
> bringing
> >any deep understanding to this discussion.  Maybe you people see
> that I
> >don't.
> >
> >Steve Keen wrote:
> >
> >>
> >> Why should the same not apply to machinery?--should not its use-value
to a
> >> capitalist also be quantitative?
> >>
> >
> >--
> >Michael Perelman
> >Economics Department
> >California State University
> >Chico, CA 95929
> >
> >Tel. 530-898-5321
> >E-Mail michael@ecst.csuchico.edu
> >
> >
> Dr. Steve Keen
> Senior Lecturer
> Economics & Finance
> University of Western Sydney Macarthur
> Building 11 Room 30,
> Goldsmith Avenue, Campbelltown
> PO Box 555 Campbelltown NSW 2560
> Australia
> s.keen@uws.edu.au 61 2 4620-3016 Fax 61 2 4626-6683
> Home 02 9558-8018 Mobile 0409 716 088
> Home Page: http://bus.macarthur.uws.edu.au/steve-keen/

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