# [OPE-L:4940] Re: ideal vs real value

Gerald Levy (glevy@pratt.edu)
Tue, 6 May 1997 15:51:54 -0700 (PDT)

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A response to Andrew K's [OPE-L:4933]:

I would like to think that we are nearing agreement ... but, I'm not so
sure.

> Rather, I (at least) mean that aggregate value cannot be altered in the
> PROCESS of exchange. The question is, in its essentials, simply this: can a
> change of titles alter the amount of value in existence?

*If* I understand Andrew's position correctly, he is saying that:

a) aggregate value can decrease in the sphere of circulation;

b) e.g. aggregate value can decrease if "commodities" are not sold; but

c) the conservation of value principle means that the quantity of value
exchanged = the quantity of value exchanged, i.e. on the
aggregate level, whatever the magnitude of value sold exactly equals
the magnitude of value purchased.

I agree with a) and b).

I can not disagree with c) either since it is a tautology and an identity.

As for the "amount of value in existence", another question is: what
*is* [the magnitude of the value] "in existence"? (or expressing that
question somewhat differently: *when* and by what *act* does value come
fully "into existence"?).

Let me put some numbers on that question [I know you and some others like
numerical illustrations]:

Suppose that the aggregate value of products *produced* = \$100 (100
products produced with an "exchange value" of \$1/unit).

Assume no constant fixed capital [did I say that?] and the MEV is constant.

Now suppose that only 90 of those products are sold on the market and the
remaining 10 units -- after production -- physically degrade to the
point where they have no use-value or exchange-value.

What would be the magnitude of the value "in existence"?

Would it = \$90?

If so, what would you call the "value" [\$10 = exchange value] of the
"commodities" that have been "lost"?

In solidarity, Jerry