[OPE-L:1336] let's look at value anew.

Michael Perelman (michael@ecst.csuchico.edu)
Wed, 6 Mar 1996 09:05:34 -0800

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I want to try again to bring the conversation back to a more fundamental
theory of value. As I read Marx, he was not so much concerned with finding
the exact value of a commodity, as it is affected by depreciation or changes
in production methods, as he was concerned with understanding what value, as
such, means.

Value is the glue that holds a market society together. It reflects an
entity's contribution to social production, measured in terms of the total
amount of social production required to make the commodity possible.

Price is a reflection of value.

Since we never actually see values, an exact determination of values is
not particularly important. The economy can continue to function, in a
strictly economic sense, so long as the prices are not too far out of
whack; that is, so long as they bear some relationship to underlying values.

It was Bohm who demanded to know the quantitative analysis of value. I
suspect that Marx would have been proud to have come up with a 95% theory of
value a la Ricardo.

Even if we get an exact theory of value, how much of an advance will we have

When I explain value to my students they seem more interested when I
discuss it as a form of social metabolism or as a system of debits and
credits in a map of commodity production.

Michael Perelman
Economics Department
California State University
Chico, CA 95929

Tel. 916-898-5321
E-Mail michael@ecst.csuchico.edu