[OPE-L:7799] Re: product differentiation

From: gerald_a_levy (gerald_a_levy@msn.com)
Date: Fri Oct 11 2002 - 05:57:59 EDT

Rakesh quoting Grossmann in [7784]:

> In
> opposition to this Marx emphasises that individual productive use of
> certain commodities is tied and inelastic, which msut likewise result
> in an uneven material expansion of production in the various spheres.
> No one who finds two tractors sufficient for the cultivation of land
> will buy four simply because their price has fallen by a half, as the
> demand for tractors--all things being equal--is not a function of
> their price, but of the acreage of land. i.e., it is determined
> quantitatively.


> 'However use value--competition--depends not on
> value, but on the quantity. It is quite unintelligible why I should
> buy six knives because I now get them for the same price that I
> previously paid for one.' [Marx, TSVIII, p.119].

Marx may have thought this unintelligible.  And many consumers might
as well _even when_ they buy '6 knives for the price of 1'!  Indeed
I bet there are a bunch of listmembers who have bought far more
knives than they need or plan on using.  Of course, this is just an
example but what it indicates perhaps is that consumers (both
working-class [assuming an increasing real wage] and capitalist)
in capitalist society have an almost unquenchable thirst  for the
massing of material goods even where they don't plan on using the
use-values that those commodities represent. This cultural attitude,
reinforced by the media and other  social institutions,  is reflected in
the slogan "He who dies with the most toys wins".  There is a kind
of irrationality associated with this behavior but it is a irrationality
that is systematically reproduced.  Indeed, there are corporations that
allocate huge amounts of funds on advertising to get consumers to
behave in this (and other) irrational ways.  There are important 
environmental implications of this behavior. Those who construct
socialist societies will have to confront and overcome this practice.

In solidarity, Jerry

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