[OPE-L:5271] Re: the 'estimation' of use-value

From: Steve Keen (s.keen@uws.edu.au)
Date: Mon Mar 26 2001 - 15:31:18 EST


The discussion you highlight by Marx refers to buyers in general--not 
buyers specifically in the M--C--M+ circuit. In general, including both 
circuits, use-value will be qualitative--since qualitative use-values drive 
the C--M--C circuit, and to be a quantative use-value in the M-_C--M+ 
circuit (i.e., to be a potential source of surplus-value), an entity must 
also have qualitative use-value (i.e., a worker must actually have some 
abilities, a commodity must actually have a function).

That qualitative side of use-value is conventional from within the 
Classical tradition--it is stuff which does not distinguish Marx from 
Ricardo or Smith on this issue. They too, while disavowing what has become 
the neoclassical stance that qualitative utility determines price via the 
contrivance of marginal utility, accept that an entity must have some 
qualitative use-value before it can be a commodity. What does distinguish 
Marx is his realisation that this means that use-value is quantitative on 
the M--C--M+ circuit.

At 11:14 AM 3/26/01 -0500, you wrote:
>Re the on-going discussion with Steve K over
>whether use-value can be expressed quantitatively:
>"[Given that the commodity is bought by the
>buyer not because it has value but because it
>is a 'use-value' and is used for determinate
>purposes, it is perfectly self-evident, 1. that
>use-values are 'estimated' [geschaatzt], i.e.
>their *quality* is investigated (just as their
>*quantity* is weighed, measured, etc.) ....]"
>("Marginal Notes on Adolph Wagner's
>'Lehrbuch der politischen Okonomie'",
>_Theoretical Practice_,  Spring 1972,  p. 53).
>[NB: in the original both 'use-value' and
>'estimated' appear as above with quotation
>Note here that this 'estimation' of use-value
>does not mean that use-value as such has a
>quantitative dimension. Rather, it means -- it
>seems to me -- that the prospective use-value
>is *accessed* -- i.e. there is an 'evaluation' of
>quality --  prior to the sale of the commodity
>by the prospective buyer.  As what is being
>accessed ('investigated') is *quality* that is to
>be used for *determinat*'  (individual, specific) purposes, there is no
>standard magnitude that can
>serve as a measure of  the 'estimation'  of
>In solidarity, Jerry

Dr. Steve Keen
Senior Lecturer
Economics & Finance
Campbelltown, Building 11 Room 30,
School of Economics and Finance
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.uws.edu.au/steve-keen/

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