[OPE-L:4927] Re: ideal vs real value

Gerald Levy (glevy@pratt.edu)
Tue, 6 May 1997 00:26:03 -0700 (PDT)

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Andrew K wrote in [OPE-L:4925]:

> (a) I am not a proponent of the notion of "conservation of value" *as
> defined by Jerry*.
> (b) I know of *no one* who holds to the notion of "conservation of
> value" *as defined by Jerry*. Everyone I know accepts that the value
> of things is destroyed if the things themselves are destroyed, for
> instance.

The definition of conservation of value that I have repeatedly used is
as follows:

* The magnitude of aggregate value is determined in production and is
'conserved' in circulation, i.e. the quantity of "value" produced can
neither increase or decrease in the sphere of circulation.

If you do not agree with that understanding, that is good. I do find it
curious, though, that the above definition has been repeatedly used on
this list and no one -- before Andrew -- has challenged it as an accurate
statement of the cv principle.

> (c) The passage Jerry has quoted does not pertain to a change of value in the
> process of exchange. The commodity loses its value because it loses its
> use-value -- so that it never enters into exchange!! Obviously, then, the
> loss of value does not occur in the process of exchange!!

Wrong! The passage in question (see [4876] for the fuller version) says:

"... if they are not sold within a definite time, then they get spoiled,
and lose, together with their use-value, the property of being bearers of
exchange-value. Both the capital value contained in them and the
surplus-value added to it are lost. ...."

In the above, products which *had* value -- and use-value and
exchange-value -- *no longer* have value _because_ "they are not sold
within a definite period" and, thereby, *lose* their use-value,
exchange-value, and value. Thus, the loss of value *did* occur in the
process of exchange because, although the product had an exchange-value,
it was *not exchanged* "within a definite time."

Clearly, the above does *not* take place in the process of production. The
"loss" of value occurs in the sphere of circulation and the sphere of
exchange since the product was *offered for sale* and *had* an

I repeat: this situation is not compatible with the cv principle since
what the cv principle took to be commodity values are *diminished*, rather
than *conserved*, when they were unable to sell "within a definite

In solidarity, Jerry