(OPE-L) [Once again on] commodities, exchange value, and value

From: Gerald A. Levy (Gerald_A_Levy@MSN.COM)
Date: Sun Jun 06 2004 - 07:57:13 EDT

Hi Howard.

>  Exchange value is a form of the manifestation of value.  Therefore,
> references to exchange value presuppose the existence of value.   Money is
> exchange value with independent existence.  Therefore, the existence of
> money presupposes the existence of value.

*Where there is value*, there is exchange value.  Simply because there is
exchange-value does not mean, though, that there is value.  So, the
"Therefore" in the 2nd sentence does not logically follow. And, since that
"Therefore" doesn't logically follow, neither does the rest of the above.

However, where a good has exchange value it comes to be *valued*.
Where there is valuation -- with of without money -- there isn't necessarily

A good may, furthermore, come to represent *wealth*.  Yet,
simply because there is wealth does not mean that the goods represent

In attempting to explain the existence of value in some Ancient societies,
I think you are using the common definition of commodity accepted by
most economists: a commodity is a product which is produced in order
to be sold.  *In that sense*,  _of course_ there were commodities in
ancient Greece (and in many other pre-capitalist social formations).
This is not the (fuller, richer, deeper) understanding of commodities
and value that Marx had.


In your reply to Paul Z you wrote:

> Marx and Ricardo both used the word 'value'. The question is
> whether when they did they referred to the same real object.
> My guess is that they did, although Marx's theoretical category
> more accurately corresponds to the social relation that exists
> [....] But both theoretical labels refer to the same real object.

Marx argued that Ricardo was "concerned only with the
*magnitude of value* (TSV, Part III, p. 131).  If one is _only_
concerned with value as magnitude then you are _not_ referring
to the same real "object."  Indeed,  if one says that value is
(only) an "object"  then one likewise fails to comprehend the
extent to which Marx's conception of value was different from
that of Ricardo.  When one conceptualizes value as (only)
a "thing" or "object" with magnitude then one misses an
essential element of what value _refers_ to.

In solidarity, Jerry

PS:  Do the following items which have exchange value (and
presumably, utility) have value:

a) ambergris found by accident on a beach?

b) a piece of paper signed by The Pope that absolves you of
past sins and entitles you to entry into heaven?

c) the right to have a star named after yourself or some
other name that you choose?

d) a lock of Marilyn Monroe's hair?

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