[OPE-L] The phenomenology of prices

From: Jurriaan Bendien (adsl675281@TISCALI.NL)
Date: Thu Jan 03 2008 - 12:57:05 EST


Yep he's talking financial assets mainly, though a house is a physical asset the value of which you can overestimate or underestimate as we now know. Problem is that at a certain point, you don't know what the market will do or won't do.

The "marxist theory" may relate only to prices of reproducible commodities, but Marx's own theory doesn't. Hence Marx refers to the contrast of "money capital" and "real capital" (commodities and productive capital). The magnitudes of money capital (financial claims) are not simply subjective, they become objectified as well. 

In a Walrasian universe, of course, there cannot really be prices oscillating around an objective value. You get this problem, something ought to have a price but nobody knows what it is, and "people may not know what they don't know".  There is no transparency, because there is nothing to look through. Similarly accountants get into an epistemological problem with defining "fair value".

I agree the question is really the extent to which objective value is behind and determines exchange value, as far as output and assets are concerned, but even that objective value doesn't exist in the absence of human valuers. Imagine a house in a desert owned by no one, and nobody at all around. Does it have a value? I would say it has no value, it would have a value only if there was somebody around and a social relation of some kind. If nobody can even access the house, it has no value, it's valueless.


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