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

From: Philip Dunn <>
Date: Sat Apr 25 2009 - 08:06:26 EDT

On Sat, 2009-04-25 at 07:10 -0400, Gerald Levy wrote:
> > No. The machine called George remains unchanged as George all those
> > years. George can rust, age and get dents; He can loose efficiency or
> > gain it. He still remains, say, a Spinning Jenny Model 12345, one
> > use-value unit of.
> > The problem is the numerous connotations of the term 'use-value'. I
> > think I will stop using it since it means all things to all men.
> Hi Phil:
> Yes, that may be the problem. But, substituting the word utility
> (or usefulness) for use-value (yes, I realize they are not identical)
> do you recognize - and how do you theorize - the decrease in utility
> which occurs over a period of time after a commodity has been sold?
> This is a relevant question for the topic of moral depreciation since the
> loss of value and exchange value happens as a consequence of the
> decrease in (socially-contextualized) utility/use-value. Those who assume
> that
> the use-value, value, and exchange value of elements of constant
> capital depreciate in a straight line manner over a predictable time period
> are assuming away this form of depreciation.
> >> In any event, what is a "unit of use-value".
> > No. Pints of milk, pounds of sugar, tons of steel, numbers of iPods.
> The type of data in an input-output table, then. Hmmmm.

It is also what you ask for in a shop. Two pints of milk, a packet of
Woodbines and a nuclear power plant, please.

Input-output tables? In theory "physical quantities" could be used but
in practice the entries are in dollars, I believe.

How on earth can you be quantitative about the depreciation of

Buy a pint of milk for a dollar. Down the road at another shop some-one
else buys a pint for 90c. Same quantity of milk, different quantity of
milk commodity.

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Received on Sat Apr 25 08:08:51 2009

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