[OPE-L:6243] what is IT's value?

From: gerald_a_levy (gerald_a_levy@msn.com)
Date: Mon Dec 03 2001 - 08:06:10 EST

Since January of this year there has been much media
speculation and hype about a mysterious invention called
'IT'.  Today IT, the invention that was touted as potentially 
one of the greatest consumer innovations since the 
automobile and the refrigerator, was revealed and
demonstrated live on the TV show 'Good Morning 
America' (GMA).

What is IT?  Well, it's kind of a battery-powered
gyroscopically-balanced scooter. Lightweight, 
with speeds up to 12 MPH,  alleged to revolutionize
pedestrian transport,  available for sale to the public
by late next year (the first customers, who will be
shipped IT in the next few weeks are primarily
government and corporate sponsors).  Thus, the
integration of IT into selected factory and office
(and military!) settings is only weeks away. Despite
all of the hype, my reaction upon seeing IT
demonstrated was the same as that of GMA co-host
Diane Sawyer: 'Is that IT?'.   It did look like a fun
toy (for the wealthy) and perhaps an important
tool eventually for some who are physically

The inventor of IT  said that he had 'hope' that
it would 'eventually' be sold for approximately

* What, though, is the *value* of IT?  

I.e. where there is a product innovation that is a
monopoly good, how can we determine the 
individual and social value of that commodity?

Empirically, how is it possible to break-down
the market price for an individual commodity 
so that one can determine the value of the
commodity, the surplus value appropriated
by the individual (in this case, IT) capitalist,
*and* the redistribution of surplus value from
other capitalists? Can we, relatedly, empirically
determine *which* capitalists had surplus-value
taken away from them through this redistribution?
Thus, can we determine not only how much 
surplus value monopolies and monopoly-like firms 
(e.g. oligopolies) receive through the redistributive
process but also how much the other  individual
capitalists *lose* in the re-shuffling of surplus-

In solidarity, Jerry

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