[OPE-L:4999] Re: ideal vs real value

Gerald Levy (glevy@pratt.edu)
Tue, 13 May 1997 16:29:25 -0700 (PDT)

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Paul C wrote in [OPE-L:4994]:

> > For a
> > commodity to have "real value", it must _actually_ have use-value and
> > exchange-value. This validation only takes place via the act of
> > exchange.
> Not so. Validation prior to production also takes place via market
> research. This may not be entirely accurate, but the fact that both
> market reseach and final sales both validate something, indicates
> that the use value, as well as the value exists independent of, and
> prior to sale.

Of course, contemporary business firms conduct market research prior to
production. This research, however, is not a "validation" of the use-value
and exchange-value of products that are about to be produced. *At best*,
they are merely ex ante *anticipations* which, ultimately, are
"guesstimates." This subjective anticipation of value is very different
from the actual validation of value via the act of exchange. Until that
act, estimates remain estimates. It is the act of exchange itself which
validates (or does not validate) value and either confirms or tears
asunder the estimates that capitalists had. This uncertainty and risk
related to value becoming real/actual is a necessary consequence of the

> It is an accounting category, and Marx's introduction of it in the
> circuit m-c-m' mirrors accounting practice.

Whether the calculation of profit mirrors accounting practice or not is
beside the point. What is at issue here is the *determination* of profit
and its relationship to surplus value and surplus-labor-time.

> > I think that variations in the mass of profits and surplus-value are
> > "independent" *and* _interdependent_.
> Sounds good, but wheres the meat.[?]

A. The "meat" is in V3, Ch. 3.

B. "The meat question"

Suppose that a "meat capitalist" produces 1 million units of beef with
1,000 hours of labor-time.

Prior to production, the capitalist conducted "market research" and
determined that s/he could sell that beef for $10,000,000. Thus, before
production, s/he determined that the beef "will" have a use-value and an

The capitalist then transports the beef to the market and discovers that
the demand for beef, due to a combination of the "mad cow disease" and
vegetarianism, has dropped to -0-.

What is the value of the beef now that it doesn't have a use-value and an

In what sense can we say that the labour-time producing the beef was

In solidarity, Jerry