[OPE-L:1455] Re: Where does the value go?

Allin Cottrell (cottrell@wfu.edu)
Tue, 12 Mar 1996 06:11:50 -0800

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On Tue, 12 Mar 1996, Alan Freeman wrote:

> I would never claim that value is conserved when a change
> in use values takes place, because obviously the value is
> embodied in the use values so that when an old use value
> disappears or a new use value appears, the magnitude
> of value in the world changes.
> My point is that this is the *only* way the mangnitude
> of value in the world can change. And that means that if
> we consider a change in prices in abstraction from the
> production or consumption of use values, it cannot change
> the amount of value in the world.

I'm not quite clear on this: When Marx says (e.g.)

"The value of every commodity ... is determined not by the labour-time
contained in it, but by the social labour-time required for its
reproduction. This reproduction may take place under unfavourable or
under propitious circumstances, distict from the conditions of original
production." (Capital, III, Progress, p. 141)

-- is this something that Alan would accept? The implication of
Marx's statement is that the value of a commodity can fall
independently of its physical consumption qua use-value, if the
conditions of production change in such a way that it can be
reproduced with the expenditure of less labour-time than the
commodity actually embodies. Would this constitute a breach of
Alan's conservation principle?