[OPE-L] Marx and Picasso (was: Reclaiming Marx's "Capital"...)

From: Anders Ekeland (anders.ekeland@ONLINE.NO)
Date: Sun Sep 02 2007 - 02:24:05 EDT


I thought that Marx' theory of value, that is the 
theory of all the transformations needed and or 
possible between physical hours worked and prices 
in the market place did not primarily apply to non-reproducibles.

Or to put it another way, that a Picasso painting 
would be an extreme case in the "transformation 
problem", i.e how the total value produced is 
distributed over the "product space".

The approach would then be that:

a) The rich pay for Picasso from their profits (surplus value)

b) That the mechanisms governing the prices of 
Picasso (and other collectors objects) are 
special, are very different from routinized production.

There are more interesting examples of the same 
type of non-reproducibles, for example the same 
house on the sunny and the shadowy side of the 
valley, same type of cottage with and without direct access to the shore etc.

In such cases there will be a systematic 
difference in price and number of hours embodied 
(being the same), that is house A (sunny) will 
have a markedly higher price than house B (on the shadowy side).

But if I do remember correctly such phenomena are 
defined out of Capital, not out of Marxian 
Economic theory, but they did not get extensive treatment in Capital or TSV.

It is a long time since I have read it now, but Roman Rosdolsky's:
DER GEBRAUCHSWERT BEI KARL MARX. EINE KRITIK DER 
BISHERIGEN MARX-INTERPRETATION
Kyklos 12 (1), 1959, p. 2756.

I found very interesting and it formed my view on these matters.

Regards
Anders  


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