Re: [OPE] Brad DeLong, 'Understanding Marx"

From: Paula <>
Date: Tue Apr 21 2009 - 20:40:57 EDT

Funnily enough DeLong echoes our recent discussions on value and use value, and adds to the confusion:

"What is going on here? What I think is going on inside Marx's head is something strange. To say that "the value relation[s] between the products of labour... have absolutely no connection with their physical properties" is simply wrong: if the coffee beans are rotten--or if their caffeine level is low--they have no value at all, for nobody will buy them. Marx says that the value of a good is something inscribed within it and attached to it--the socially-necessary labor time for its production-that then bosses people around. And it is the values--not the prices at which things are actually bought and sold--that are the elements of the real important reality. And those values: "appear as independent beings endowed with life and entering into relation both with one another and the human race." Now I have never found anybody who thinks this way.
"Nobody I talk to believes that "values" are objective quantities inherent in goods by virtue of the time it took to produce them.

Everybody I talk to believes that things are both (a) useful to me and (b) useful to other people, and moreover (c) we live in a society where we exchange stuff--where we, in Adam Smith's words, truck, barter, and exchange. If the combination of my wealth and its usefulness to me makes me value it the most, then I use it--it is to me what Marx calls a use value. If there is somebody else out there whose combination of their wealth and its usefulness to them makes them value it more than I do, then I trade it away to them directly or indirectly for stuff that I value more--they consume it, and it is to me what Marx calls an exchange value. But what Marx calls exchange values are really use values to others".

Or, use-value is king.


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Received on Tue Apr 21 20:42:34 2009

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