Re: [OPE-L] The hidden significance of second-hand goods in the world economy

Date: Sat Mar 31 2007 - 12:32:49 EDT

Hi Jurriaan:

This is a topic of some significance, especially as it concerns the
informal (petty comnmodity) sector in many nations.  The collection
and re-sale of used goods has become a means by which many of the
poor are able to meet their subsistence requirements.  This includes
both means of consumption (e.g. clothing) and means of production,
especially goods which can be re-sold to capitalists and then be re-used
as elements of constant circulating capital (e.g. scrap metal).
Because of its informal nature, though, it is difficult to estimate
the worth of these goods and therefore the _extent_ to which this has
significance for economic activity.  It is also difficult to estimate the
*waste of use-values* in the world economy -- but there is no question
that there is a tremendous amount of waste particularly of means of
subsistence (e.g. food) in the advanced capitalist nations.  (More
anecdotally, there is evidence that there is a lot of waste in advanced
capitalist nations within manufacturing e.g. of intermediate goods and
other elements of constant capital. This seems to be related to whether
the expendditure for wages is greater than the possible savings from
collecting and re-using or re-selling these materials.)

In solidarity, Jerry

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