RE: [OPE] Understanding Value and Use-Value

From: Philip Dunn <>
Date: Sun Apr 26 2009 - 19:17:02 EDT

On Sun, 2009-04-26 at 16:07 +0100, GERALD LEVY wrote:
> > I take an different view. To account for moral depreciation all that is
> > needed is to depreciate long lasting elements of constant capital in
> > proportion to revenue (in value terms, of course).
> > Suppose an asset is anticipated to last 5 years and revenue is expected
> > to be flat. This would lead the accountants to depreciate it at 20% per
> > year. If due to unanticipated technological change, the firm decides to
> > scrap the asset after 4 years, given flat revenue for those 4 years, the
> > depreciation should be 25% per year. The accountants should make prior
> > year adjustments.
> Hi Phil:
> Moral depreciation isn't simply an accounting question. The possibility
> of a premature and unanticipated loss in use-value, value, and exchange-value
> are all inherent in the character of the commodity-form. The most
> accountants can do is make suppositions - as you do above. These suppositions,
> usually based on recent trends, are - when all is said and done - merely
> guesstimates.
> > Use-value has nothing to do with it.
> Nothing to do with it ??? Why do you think capitalists buy means of
> production to begin with? They buy these because of their *use-value*
> in the production process: namely, the _possibility_ of transferring
> value to the commodity product. Similarly, they purchase the commodity
> labor-power because of the *use-value* of wage labor: it's potential
> to create commodities and value. Why do you think they then purchase
> new, more technologically-advanced means of production to replace
> the morally depreciated means of production? Yes, because of its
> use-value. This topic can not be understood without reference to
> use-value and understanding the conceptual links in the commodity-form
> between use-value, value, and the value-form.

Hi Jerry

Perhaps I should make it clear that I am arguing that a large part of
value theory is, in fact, just accounting. In particular, value
transfer, of which depreciation of long lived assets is one example, is
always in proportion to value revenue. This is an extension to value
theory of the accountants' accruals concept. This states that costs
should associated with the revenues arising from them. That is why
accountants perform a cost of goods sold calculation. It follows from
this that if no goods are sold then the cost is zero. How can zero goods
have a non-zero cost?

No revenue, no value transfer.

It is an extension of the accruals concept to say that value transfer is
always in proportion to revenue.

Can some-one provided a refutation?

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Received on Sun Apr 26 19:28:20 2009

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