Re: [OPE] Consumption & law of value

From: Allin Cottrell <>
Date: Fri Apr 10 2009 - 21:34:11 EDT

On Fri, 10 Apr 2009, Alejandro Agafonow wrote:

> I think that you and Cottrell has admitted that socially
> necessary labor must be reallocated toward the production of
> goods thatchanges of preferences have pointed out as more
> valuable or desired.

What we argue (I wouldn't say "admit", it's more positive than
that) is that social labour should be allocated towards goods that
have a high ratio of "useful effect" to labour embodied. If we're
talking about consumer goods, "useful effect" can reasonably be
measured by how much people are willing to pay for them, spending
the labour-tokens that they've earned.

How might a particular good come to have an unusally favourable
ratio of useful effect to labour embodied? One possibility is
that people's preferences have shifted in favour of the good.
But, as ever, you're fixated on preferences. The more likely case
is that technological advance has lowered the required labour
time -- this will call for an expansion of production up to the
point where "willingness to pay" has fallen to match the reduced
labour embodied.

> An orthodox Marxist would interpret this as the law of value
> determining consumption decisions.

Perhaps. I don't know. But this seems an obscure way of putting

Allin Cottrell
ope mailing list
Received on Fri Apr 10 21:49:53 2009

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