Re: [OPE] peanut butter value-form theory

From: Alejandro Agafonow <>
Date: Wed Apr 01 2009 - 10:05:47 EDT

Philip’s has what I think is the standard account of LTV. Since according to him dodgy crackers are capable of bearing value, it must be because they were produced by human labor. But a problem arises if these crackers are unable to deliver any kind of useful service to society. How can we concede value to a fruitlessitem? The potential consequences for an economic theory based on this account are devastating. We could build an economic system devoted to produce items which don’t serve any kind of preferences and necessities.   Exchange is just a devise to let useful items be delivered on the right time and to the right persons. We can imagine an economy delivering useful items without exchange, as Cottrell & Cockshott have done. That’s why I don’t know why Paula thinks that exchange in itself has the property of conceding value. A perfectly good cracker didn’t have value at the moment of exchange, just to lose this value when it lies in your kitchen cupboard. It could even have just an ornamental function if you want, and therefore, satisfying concrete preferences. It depends on its consumer.   On this respect I agree with Jerry when he says that if there is no use-value, there can be no value and hence no exchange value. Nevertheless, if we accept this, the consequences for LTV and for concrete arrangements to deliver use-values in a large economy are at odds with common Marxist scholarship. I dare to say that this consequences are in open contradiction with the usual statements that Jerry himself expresses in OPE.   Jerrywould appear either as a market socialist, as a Trotskyite or close to the Cottrellcockshottian planer.   Regards,A. Agafonow ________________________________ De: GERALD LEVY <> Para: Outline on Political Economy mailing list <> Enviado: miércoles, 1 de abril, 2009 3:00:42 Asunto: RE: [OPE] peanut butter value-form theory > A point about use-value. Do dodgy crackers have no use-value because > they can't be sold or is that they can't be sold because they have no > use-value? Hi Phil: The latter. If there is no use-value, there can be no value and hence no exchange value. > I use the term use-value as indicating an item, in a sense quite neutral > in regard to usefulness. The difference between a contaminated cracker > and a wholesome one has no bearing on value theory. The difference between a product which has no usefulness and a commodity which has use-value does have great bearing on value theory. In some ways, I think the term 'value theory' is misleading, though. A more appropriate expression  would be 'commodity theory'  since use-value, value, exchange value, and money all form constituent elements of the commodity. Value is a concept which derives from the nature of commodities, not vice versa. In solidarity, Jerry_______________________________________________ ope mailing list

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