Re: is value labour?

From: clyder@GN.APC.ORG
Date: Wed May 07 2003 - 18:38:30 EDT

Quoting Paul Zarembka <zarembka@BUFFALO.EDU>:

> Alfredo,
> Are you arguing that Marx's 'value' is therefore different than Ricardo's
> 'value' and, if so [if not different, I wouldn't understand your point],
> how different?  It is one thing to mention that Ricardo speaks from a
> trans-historical position but not Marx, it is another to demonstrate how
> 'value' is thus affected.

Ricardo opens his chapter on value thus:
"The value of a commodity, or the quantity of any other
commodity for which it will exchange, depends on the relative
quantity of labour which is necessary for its production, and not
on the greater or less compensation which is paid for that

    "It has been observed by Adam Smith, that 'the word Value has
two different meanings, and sometimes expresses the utility of
some particular object, and sometimes the power of purchasing
other goods which the possession of that object conveys. The one
may be called value in use; the other value in exchange."

Marx differentiates between value and exchange value:

"I rather say that exchange-values (exchange-value, without at least two of
them, does not exist) represent something common to them, which “is quite
independent of their use-values” //i.e. here their natural form//,
namely “value.” This is what I write: “Therefore, the common substance that
manifests itself in the exchange-relation of exchange-value of commodities, is
their value." ( notes on Wagner)

The point is that for Marx, exchange value is form of representation
of something prior to exchange, that thing is value - the normal
amount of labour that an article costs to produce. As a form of representation
exchange value has the potential to be noisy, it can be a degraded
representation of value disturbed by adventitious market conditions.

> Paul
> --On Wednesday, May 07, 2003 9:45 AM -0400 Asfilho@AOL.COM wrote:
> > The trouble with such Ricardian views as "value is labour" is that they
> > take for granted the existence of exchange, prices and commodities. That
> > commodities are worth more because they embody more labour begs the
> > questions of *why there are commodities at all*, and *why it is a
> > relevant abstraction to assume, at certain stages in the analysis, that
> > commodities exchange at their labour time of production*.

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