RE: [OPE] Misunderstanding value (reply)

Date: Wed May 06 2009 - 09:04:26 EDT

> (2) So long as humans must work to live, it is impossible to abolish
> economic value.

Hi Jurriaan:

Human beings have had to work in order to live since the evolution from
apes. Indeed, one could claim that apes need to work as well since apes
need to consciously transform/act upon nature in order to survive. So too
with many other animals. This is the slippery slope that happens when you
re-define value so that it can exist in societies where there is not
commodity production.

I think it should be clear that by value you simply mean *valuation* in
terms of the 'embodied labor' in products. This formulation can only
be arrived at by ripping apart value from its connection to commodities
and the specific social relations associated with capitalism.

You think you have history and anthropology on your side. You do not.
All that you have done is re-define a term so that is no longer specific
to a period of human history and specific relations of production and

>> In terms of general value theory, as I have argued before, value has its
> origin in the ability of living organisms to prioritize their own behaviours
> according to consciously chosen options (autodeterminism), which, in an
> evolutionary sense, is powerfully developed through cooperative human work.

Many species have the ability to prioritize their own behavior by consciously
choose options. A lion can decide what prey to attack, for instance, and
how best to attack. Hence, we can see once again that your theory of value
devolves from something which expresses specific social relations of production
to behavior which has existed throughout human history and the history of
many other species as well.

> Surprisingly, all this is denied by Jerry, who argues like national
> accountants and shopkeepers that value arises out of exchange. In that case,
> why bother with Marx at all? Why bother with a theory of relations of
> production?

Good questions. You have done a very good job of doing away with his
conception of value.

btw (for the umpteenth time), I don't argue that "value arises out of exchange".
What I argue is that the value relation expresses a particular form of relations
of production, distribution, and exchange. To divorce 'value' from commodity
exchange is to entirely miss the point about what value expresses. We can see
above in what direction that leads one's theory. You have pulled the thread
out of the sweater and all that is left is a pile of yarn - exactly where one
was at before one sewed the sweater to begin with.

In solidarity, Jerry_______________________________________________
ope mailing list
Received on Wed May 6 09:06:54 2009

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Sun May 31 2009 - 00:00:03 EDT