[OPE-L:4946] Re: ideal vs real value

Chai-on Lee (conlee@chonnam.chonnam.ac.kr)
Wed, 7 May 1997 02:29:03 -0700 (PDT)

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Let me try to respond to Jerry's CV principle. (the other post Jerry
replied to me on the question of Marx's competition and Capital-wage labor,
etc. is put aside for the time being).

I basically agree with Andrew and would like to ask the legitimacy of the
CV principle.

According to Jerry,
>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.

Why is the value that was determined in the process of production not to
change in circulation? I do not think so. I am a proponent of the embodied
labor theory of value, but I oppose strongly against the CV. No matter
whether it is in circulation or in production, when the container of the
value (= use-value) turn out to be no more socially useful, the value would
be 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

No. the loss of value is not taken place in exchange nor in production. It
was done on the shelves of warehouses. I do not think the loss of a value
can be transformed into a gain of value for other capitalists. If a thing
was sold under its actual value, then the loss could be a gain for the
other part. If a thing is sold above its value, then the other part engaged
in the exchange can lose some value. Yet, the loss in Jerry's case was not
in the process of exchange nor in that of production, it was outside the
exchange, and outside the production. It was in the process of storage.
If, like a fire, the value is simply lost in the warehouse, the loss can be
nobody's gain. If the things are covered under an insurance policy, the
loss might be transferred onto other's loss. But not the other's gain.

>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

Where does the idea of CV come out from anyway? In the process of
PRODUCTION, IMO, the input values can be conserved if the newly expended
labor is socially useful. In the process of STORAGE, in like manner, the
commodity values can be conserved if the storing labor is socially useful
(cf Vol II, Chap. 6).

In solidarity,