Re: [OPE-L] conservation principles in economic and the natural sciences

From: ajit sinha (sinha_a99@YAHOO.COM)
Date: Thu May 10 2007 - 06:09:31 EDT

--- glevy@PRATT.EDU wrote:

> Hi Ajit:
> The "conservation principle" used by some modern
> Marxian
> economists is the *axiom* that value is conserved in
> exchange.
> What this is intended to convey is the principle
> that the act
> of exchange itself can't create new value.  We
> probably have
> different reasons for disliking this axiom.  What I
> don't
> like is -- at least the way I have seen it applied
> -- the assertion
> that value once created can't be *destroyed* except
> through
> use.  This leads to models of moral depreciation in
> which value
> is simply redistributed among capitalists rather
> than there also
> causing a destruction of capital values.  It might
> also be taken
> to infer that value is simply redistributed through
> war and genocide
> rather than those acts causing a dimunition in
> aggregate value.
By *axiom* one generally understands something like:
self evidently ture. Thus it does not need any
justification or argument to rest on. In the context
of *value*, the main problem is that nobody
understands what it means. If you have five Marxists
in a room, you will have at least 25 different
meanings of the word *value*--i.e. on the average
every Marxist holds five different meaning of value.
What you call above an *axiom* is not an axiom but
rather one particular *definition* of value (or rather
part of a definition of value). In other words, it is
asserted to be so by definition but that does not mean
that it is self evidently true. Cheers, ajit sinha

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