[OPE-L:5232] Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: RE: RE: Re: [Mike W] Re: use-value as quantitative

From: Gerald_A_Levy (Gerald_A_Levy@msn.com)
Date: Thu Mar 22 2001 - 06:23:09 EST

Re Steve K's [5229]:

> I argue that use-value is quantitative in the M--C--M+ circuit, and
> measured in value units, and the two magnitudes are incommensurable with
> each other in the sense Marx meant, which was that one plays no role in
> determining the other *for strict commodities*.

Putting aside the question of the supposed
quantifiability of use-value (which we already
discussed), you argue above that use-value
plays no role in the determination of value
'*for strict commodities*'.

Let us consider this (once again):

A 'strict' commodity, from Marx's perspective,
must simultaneously have:

a) use-value;
b) exchange-value;
c) value.

Thus, your statement above is simply incorrect.
Use-value *does*  play a role in the determination
of the value of a 'strict' commodity. I.e. if
a 'commodity' (i.e. a product of labor that was
presumed to constitute a commodity) has
'value' (i.e. what is presumed to be value) but
not use-value *then* it can not be a commodity
nor will its 'value' necessarily come to appear
through exchange-value nor will its 'value'
*be* value.  This simply follows from a literal,
linguistic reading of Marx.

Now for meaning: what are supposed to become
products and are produced by wage-labor
which is employed by capital take the value-form
when entering the market.  But do these products
which are *presumed* to be commodities and
*presumed* to have value actually (i.e. really)
have value and are they actually (really)
commodities (i.e. in the 'strict' sense above)?
Not necessarily.

*If the product does not have use-value*, then
this will become apparant in the marketplace
since the 'commodity' will not be sold and thereby
its 'value' can not be *actualized* (i.e. REALized).
Therefore, the absence of use-value *negates*
(what was presumed to constitute) value and
transforms what was presumed to be a commodity
into a simple (and unexchangeable) product of
labor. This possibility not only exists in Marx's
definition -- it exists in the nature of the unity
of the production and circulation process. And
indeed a reflection of this is in the nature of value
as *socially-necessary* labor time. How can
a 'commodity' be socially-necessary if it doesn't
contain use-value?

>. I believe that the vast majority of marxists
> miss this issue completely (the only ones who ever saw it were Hilferding,
> Rosdolsky, Groll, Desai, and me).

You've made the claim repeatedly that 'most'
Marxists ignore use-value. I'm not so sure.
At one point in time, I think that would have
been correct. That doesn't mean that it is
correct today. To begin with, let's consider
Rosdolsky who was a major influence on
Mandel and Mattick Sr who in turn influenced
many others like Altvater and more recently
Fred and others. Let us also not forget the
influence of I.I. Rubin who influenced many,
many Marxists in the 1970's and beyond (after
the publication of his book in English on value).
I consider value-form theory, for example,
to have been influenced by Rubin as have many
others like Elson.

The more interesting question, then, might be
to ask: what contemporary traditions in Marxism
*do* ignore use-value?  Perhaps the Monthly
Review school, having been influenced by
Sweezy? The former 'diamat' school based out
of what is now the former USSR?  Who else?

In solidarity, Jerry

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