Re: [OPE] Understanding value (reply to Michael Heinrich)

From: Anders Ekeland <>
Date: Wed Apr 29 2009 - 06:43:55 EDT

Paul Bullock:
>If capitalism fails to provide money to buy the products ( credit
>money or otherwise) then the turnover of capital stops, or falters
>.. and we have a crisis. The capitalist can insiste his stocks have
>value... what.... actually he can't sell them so they
>don't! Insisting that products that are likely to be dumped/
>scrapped have value seems to be to 'lack critical edge'. The issue
>in this case is - how can the capitalistic relation be made to work
>effectively again?

As I have said before, I think that we need to have concepts and
models that allow us to handle waste/overproduction, since in IMO:

- wheat that is burned, oranges shoveled into Italian rivers etc.
clearly is a waste of *useful* resources

- SUVs not being sold - not being that useful, more conspicuous
consumption - still embodies a lot of labour.

In capitalist markets the social recognition of private labours is an
ongoing process, in the extreme case - none of the private labour is
recognized, in some cases because there is not any monetary demand,
but real social needs (i.e. the present housing crisis in Spain,
there is need for the houses, but not enough monetary demand.) or in
other cases when capitalists produces crazy products (gadgets) that
very few want - and a lot of intermediary cases.

Like Jurriaan I hold that Marx did not have an either or position,
i.e. that use-value and demand does not influence the socially
accepted part of embodied labour - or that price = value. (To what
extent Marx is consistent, have a good description, was able to
envisage "surface" phenomena of todays capitalism is another debate).

What is important here is precisely the dynamic "tension", the
feedback between the production process and the exchange process.
When they diverge over a certain period, become too far apart - we
get a crisis. Prices are adjusted, products disappear - a new start
is initiated - and "here we go again" - to the next crisis -
inevitable in an myopic, atomistic, profitseeking set of relations of
production like capitalism.

What is really lacking is a theorizing and modelling of these
feedbacks between embodied labour and socially recognized labour and
useful labour (from a human needs point of view).

Just my two cents while Jurriaan is on holiday.

Anders Ekeland

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Received on Wed Apr 29 06:46:32 2009

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