[OPE-L:4123] Re: use-value and value

Gerald Lev (glevy@pratt.edu)
Fri, 31 Jan 1997 14:36:57 -0800 (PST)

[ show plain text ]

Alejandro R wrote in [OPE-L:4120]:

> > A problem with some other
> > interpretations is when use-value is vacated from the analysis.
> For example?

To begin with, the whole Ricardian school after Ricardo. Even in Ricardo,
we see the belief, according to Marx, that exchange-value is the same as
value. The Neo-Ricardian school, including both Sraffa, Steedman, and
those who came afterwards, have also not understood the importance of

Others effectively ignore use-value in the mistaken belief that it is a
category that opens the door to marginalist and subjectivist
interpretations of value. I think this was probably the case with Sweezy,
who in his _The Theory of Capitalist Development_ -- a book that
influenced an entire generation of Marxists -- wrote: "Marx excluded
use-value (or, as it now would be called, 'utility') from the field of
investigation of political economy on the ground that it does not
directly embody a social relation" (although he does later add: "This
does not mean that use value should play no role in economics", both
quotes, p. 26). Yet, Marx writes elsewhere in his 8/24/67 letter to
Engels that one of the two "best points in my book" [_Capital_, VI] was
"the two-fold character of labour, according to which it is expressed in
use-value or exchange-value (All understanding of the facts depends on
this.)" Later, in 1883, in his "Marginal Notes on Wagner", he wrote that
"for me use-value plays a far more important part that it has in
economics hitherto ...."

> Are you agree with the method to calculate the rate of
> profit proposed by Tugan?


But, the difference between Tugan and Marx concerned, more significantly,
their different perspectives on method and value -- which essentially
reflect the fact that Tugan was a Ricardian.

> What would be the advantage to consider this PARTICULAR
> INTERPRETATION of Marx as a correct representation of his
> theory, if it cannot reproduce an important Marx's
> statement?

Well, I don't ever remember suggesting that there was an advantage to
Tugan's particular interpretation of Marx.

In solidarity, Jerry