[OPE-L:4119] Re: use-value and value

Gerald Lev (glevy@pratt.edu)
Fri, 31 Jan 1997 09:15:40 -0800 (PST)

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Alejandro R wrote in [OPE-L:4115]:

> Capitalist wealth is formed by commodities and commodities
> are the unity of use value and value.

I would say, rather, that capitalist wealth is formed by labor and nature
but necessarily appears outwardly and visibly as an accumulation of

> The problem is that
> some interpretations of Marx tend to reduce capitalist
> wealth to use-value, neglecting value.

That is a problem with some interpretations. A problem with some other
interpretations is when use-value is vacated from the analysis.

> I think you will agree that for
> the capitalists is decisive to appropriate "abstract
> wealth", "money", "value".

Use-value is _also_ decisive for capitalists. Consider the M - C - M'
circuit. Capitalists advance money-capital for the purchase of labour-power
and elements of constant capital. What is decisive for the capitalist in
the _production process_ is precisely the use-value of these commodities.
Even if the capitalist purchased these commodities at their value, there
can be a [unanticipated] reduction in the use-value of these components of
capital which can then lead to a reduction in value and the value-form.

> If "abstract wealth" falls,
> capitalist system goes into a crisis, although "material
> wealth" increases. I do not find this particularly obscure
> in Marxs presentation. Do you?

If what you are saying is that capitalism can go into crisis when there
is a reduction in value-creation and profit even when there is an
increase in "material wealth" measured by an increase in the quantity of
commodities produced, then I agree that this is not an "obscure" point in
Marx's presentation.

> Are you agree with a
> calculation of profit rate which takes unilaterally into
> account the increasing material wealth? What would be the
> advantage of this in order to formalize Marxs propositions
> concerning the dynamic to profit rate?

I don't understand these questions.

In solidarity, Jerry