[OPE] Valuation of knowledge

From: Jurriaan Bendien <adsl675281@telfort.nl>
Date: Thu Nov 05 2009 - 02:17:05 EST

I think we are still in the early stages of the valuation of knowledge as a
commodity. It is not yet certain for many kinds of knowledge what its market
value is, and for some kinds of knowledge it may never be quite certain. As
I pointed out, there are different possibilities for valuation, similar to
fixed capital: acquisition cost, sale value, replacement value,
income-earning potential, labour content. Moreover knowledges may be
revalued or devalued by other knowledges.

As I noted in wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commodity_(Marxism) the
transformation of a labor-product into a commodity (its "marketing") is in
reality not a simple process, but has many technical and social
preconditions. These often include:

*the existence of a reliable ''supply'' of a product, or at least a surplus
or surplus product
*the existence of a social need for it (a market demand) that must be met
through trade, or at any event cannot be met otherwise.
*the legally sanctioned assertion of private ownership rights to the
*the enforcement of these rights, so that ownership is secure.
*the transferability of these private rights from one owner to another.
*the right to buy and sell the commodity, and/or obtain it (privately) and
keep income from such trade
*the (physical) transferability of the commodity itself, i.e. the ability to
store, package, preserve and transport it from one owner to another.
*the imposition of exclusivity of access to the commodity.
*the possibility of the owner to use or consume the commodity privately.
*guarantees about the quality and safety of the commodity, and possibly a
guarantee of replacement or service, should it fail to function as intended.

For many kinds of knowledge these kinds of criteria cannot, or cannot fully
be met - they assume ownership or access barriers which do not exist yet.

To understand the cost structure of products, Marxist theoretical dogma will
not do. We have to look at the data. For example, in December 2008, Kline
revealed that the top marketers in the personal care industry collectively
spend about 29% of sales on cost of goods, 53% on marketing, and 7% on other
expenses including R&D and administration, leaving an operating margin of
about 11%.

In reality the commodification of knowledge weakens capitalism, since the
ability to produce, and produce at a competitive cost, has to scale the
additional hurdle of the economic rents extracted from the monopolisation of
knowledge by individuals and organisations.


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