[OPE-L:4683] value vs potential value

Michael_A._Lebowit (mlebowit@sfu.ca)
Wed, 9 Apr 1997 02:53:28 -0700 (PDT)

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In 4644, I asked:

How do those who accept the
argument that the value of commodities is given before sale reconcile their
position with Marx's clear statement in Vol. I, Ch. 2 that commodities "must
stand the test as use-values before they can be realized as values. For the
labour expended upon them only counts in so far as it is expended in a form
which is useful for others. However, only the act of exchange can prove
whether that labour is useful for others, and its product consequently
capable of satisfying the needs of others."

Allin has responded in 4645 (1) by proposing that since "most commodities
most of the time are not totally new items; they have shown themselves to
be use-values. Given that, their value is determined in production." (Ie.,
that Marx meant that the act of exchange proves that labour hasn't been
wasted upon a non-commodity only for the case of "totally new items".) and
(2) that where Marx does "toy with" the significance of the act, it is
confusing and inconsistent with what he says most of the time. Ie., Allin's
response is to dismiss and marginalise Marx's statement.
Ajit's response is ---"Ditto! Joan Robinson tried to make a bit of hay
out of it, but it is a dead end road." Ie., forget that statement.
What about the rest of that consensus that Alan seemed to have forged---
Alan, Iwao, Alejandro, Paul, Andrew? How do you reconcile your position with
Marx's above statement?
in solidarity,
Michael A. Lebowitz
Economics Department, Simon Fraser University
Burnaby, B.C. Canada V5A 1S6
Office (604) 291-4669; Office fax: (604) 291-5944
Home: (604) 872-0494; Home fax (with warning): (604) 872-0485
Lasqueti Island (250) 333-8810