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Can Anyone Defend the Labor Theory of Value?

socialpinko
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10/11/2011 7:27:13 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
I don't know if there are many present day proponents of it so it may be hard to find justification from a real life proponent. Though I might be wrong and we could have some right here on DDO.
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jimtimmy
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10/11/2011 7:27:46 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 10/11/2011 7:27:13 PM, socialpinko wrote:
I don't know if there are many present day proponents of it so it may be hard to find justification from a real life proponent. Though I might be wrong and we could have some right here on DDO.

I'm not sure either... It would be interesting if their were though
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Ragnar_Rahl
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10/12/2011 2:19:01 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
http://www.debate.org...

And I think

http://www.debate.org...
It came to be at its height. It was commanded to command. It was a capital before its first stone was laid. It was a monument to the spirit of man.
socialpinko
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10/12/2011 5:25:25 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
If you can find a mutualist forum I'm sure they'd be happy to explain.
: At 9/29/2014 10:55:59 AM, imabench wrote:
: : At 9/29/2014 9:43:46 AM, kbub wrote:
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: : DDO should discredit support of sexual violence at any time and in every way.
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: I disagree.
socialpinko
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10/12/2011 8:54:59 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
There seem to be some mutualists on this forum, try asking them.
http://libertarianleft.freeforums.org...
: At 9/29/2014 10:55:59 AM, imabench wrote:
: : At 9/29/2014 9:43:46 AM, kbub wrote:
: :
: : DDO should discredit support of sexual violence at any time and in every way.
:
: I disagree.
socialpinko
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10/12/2011 9:20:09 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
http://www.debate.org...
Posted basically the same question and this is what came up.
: At 9/29/2014 10:55:59 AM, imabench wrote:
: : At 9/29/2014 9:43:46 AM, kbub wrote:
: :
: : DDO should discredit support of sexual violence at any time and in every way.
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: I disagree.
Reasoning
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10/21/2011 9:28:20 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 10/11/2011 7:23:47 PM, jimtimmy wrote:
It seems retarded to me... Can anyone defend it?

Sure thing. http://www.mutualist.org...
"What we really ought to ask the liberal, before we even begin addressing his agenda, is this: In what kind of society would he be a conservative?" - Joseph Sobran
jimtimmy
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10/21/2011 9:55:30 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 10/21/2011 9:28:20 PM, Reasoning wrote:
At 10/11/2011 7:23:47 PM, jimtimmy wrote:
It seems retarded to me... Can anyone defend it?

Sure thing. http://www.mutualist.org...

Thx... I just wanted a defense of it.... I am still an adherent of the Subjective Theory of Value, though
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Marximus
Posts: 8
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10/22/2011 4:06:18 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 10/11/2011 7:23:47 PM, jimtimmy wrote:
It seems retarded to me... Can anyone defend it?

I am new to this forum, but I will gladly defend it for you. I just don't want to restate the whole position, as it is available in good form elsewhere. So if you have a scenario, as most do who disagree with it, that seems to undermine the theory, then, if you like, post the dilemma and I will attempt to resolve it to your satisfaction.

If you decide this is what you'd like to do, please accept these opening comments as things to keep in mind. You might already know these things, so I will state them for the sake of others who may googling.

1) Many versions of labor theory exist.

2) Marx is banned reading for most people, but actually expanded the theory into a unbeatable position. More on this later...

3) That is not to say that the theory is true. It only means, as Karl Popper states, that the theory is yet to be proved false, but may be so in the future.

4) People that say it is false, or ridiculous, or debunked a long time ago are speaking from opinion and or bias (related to #2). No respectable mainstream economist will tell you that, to date, any doubts or concerns raised up and against the theory have won. Smith's and Ricardo's versions have obvious flaws here. But Marx's reformulation adds an element or two in that makes the theory much harder to pin down and beaten.

....however and this is where it gets tricky so I ask that you give the following statements real, honest investigation.

5) exploitation, which is a realistic phenomena in our world, is something that really is never explained correctly by classical capitalist theory (see the Austrians). Many economic theorists, many, sought to explain how exploitation of workers occurs within capitalism.

6) Talking about exploitation of workers is political dynamite.

7) Marx tied his own version of exploitation directly to his own labor theory.

8) Revolutions began.

9) Western governments, economists, philosophers began to band together against the growing threat of communism and, correctly deduced and then attacked the labor theory of value and it's concomitant theory of exploitation, as the root of the revolutionary fervor...for that is what it is, the root.

10) This effort included former communists, who also were aware the labor theory is central to theories of exploitation.

11) Together, along with a good deal of cover from anarcho-capitalists (Austrians), the marginalist revolution took hold, little by little, replacing the labor theory....PURELY on Political grounds.

12) Victory was pronounced, and Marx was effectively banned, still is.

13) Non-Marxian labor theory is relatively simple to defeat and is the only version taught because Marx is considered off-limits.

14) That should bring us to your question. I suspect you were taught the Non-Marxian concept of Labor theory and no doubt, it is fully of easily defeated mistakes.

15) But what if, like Thomas Jefferson reading his Koran, you step out and above the fray and what society is afraid of, and simply try to learn Marx's formulation of the theory firsthand? Do you think, in the end, it will make you revolutionary? It hasn't had that effect on me. I suspect you will be fine yourself.

With that, I welcome your questions.
socialpinko
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10/22/2011 4:15:59 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
Where is the defense? You provided no logical or rational defense of it, only claiming that the Marxian formulation is unbeatable.
: At 9/29/2014 10:55:59 AM, imabench wrote:
: : At 9/29/2014 9:43:46 AM, kbub wrote:
: :
: : DDO should discredit support of sexual violence at any time and in every way.
:
: I disagree.
jimtimmy
Posts: 3,953
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10/22/2011 4:22:20 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 10/22/2011 4:06:18 PM, Marximus wrote:
At 10/11/2011 7:23:47 PM, jimtimmy wrote:
It seems retarded to me... Can anyone defend it?

I am new to this forum, but I will gladly defend it for you. I just don't want to restate the whole position, as it is available in good form elsewhere. So if you have a scenario, as most do who disagree with it, that seems to undermine the theory, then, if you like, post the dilemma and I will attempt to resolve it to your satisfaction.

If you decide this is what you'd like to do, please accept these opening comments as things to keep in mind. You might already know these things, so I will state them for the sake of others who may googling.

1) Many versions of labor theory exist.

2) Marx is banned reading for most people, but actually expanded the theory into a unbeatable position. More on this later...

3) That is not to say that the theory is true. It only means, as Karl Popper states, that the theory is yet to be proved false, but may be so in the future.

4) People that say it is false, or ridiculous, or debunked a long time ago are speaking from opinion and or bias (related to #2). No respectable mainstream economist will tell you that, to date, any doubts or concerns raised up and against the theory have won. Smith's and Ricardo's versions have obvious flaws here. But Marx's reformulation adds an element or two in that makes the theory much harder to pin down and beaten.

....however and this is where it gets tricky so I ask that you give the following statements real, honest investigation.

5) exploitation, which is a realistic phenomena in our world, is something that really is never explained correctly by classical capitalist theory (see the Austrians). Many economic theorists, many, sought to explain how exploitation of workers occurs within capitalism.

6) Talking about exploitation of workers is political dynamite.

7) Marx tied his own version of exploitation directly to his own labor theory.

8) Revolutions began.

9) Western governments, economists, philosophers began to band together against the growing threat of communism and, correctly deduced and then attacked the labor theory of value and it's concomitant theory of exploitation, as the root of the revolutionary fervor...for that is what it is, the root.

10) This effort included former communists, who also were aware the labor theory is central to theories of exploitation.

11) Together, along with a good deal of cover from anarcho-capitalists (Austrians), the marginalist revolution took hold, little by little, replacing the labor theory....PURELY on Political grounds.

12) Victory was pronounced, and Marx was effectively banned, still is.

13) Non-Marxian labor theory is relatively simple to defeat and is the only version taught because Marx is considered off-limits.

14) That should bring us to your question. I suspect you were taught the Non-Marxian concept of Labor theory and no doubt, it is fully of easily defeated mistakes.

15) But what if, like Thomas Jefferson reading his Koran, you step out and above the fray and what society is afraid of, and simply try to learn Marx's formulation of the theory firsthand? Do you think, in the end, it will make you revolutionary? It hasn't had that effect on me. I suspect you will be fine yourself.

With that, I welcome your questions.

My main question is where is your defense of the Labor Theory of Value?

You didn't offer up any defense of it, except saying that Marx's theory is unbeatable... My question is why and how?
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Marximus
Posts: 8
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10/22/2011 5:04:29 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 10/22/2011 4:22:20 PM, jimtimmy wrote:
At 10/22/2011 4:06:18 PM, Marximus wrote:
At 10/11/2011 7:23:47 PM, jimtimmy wrote:
It seems retarded to me... Can anyone defend it?

I am new to this forum, but I will gladly defend it for you. I just don't want to restate the whole position, as it is available in good form elsewhere. So if you have a scenario, as most do who disagree with it, that seems to undermine the theory, then, if you like, post the dilemma and I will attempt to resolve it to your satisfaction.

With that, I welcome your questions.

My main question is where is your defense of the Labor Theory of Value?

You didn't offer up any defense of it, except saying that Marx's theory is unbeatable... My question is why and how?

Oh. I am sorry. I thought I explained that I didn't want to actually restate the whole theory as your initial question sounded as if you know the theory well already and believe it is incorrect, as well as it being posted elsewhere online firsthand.

After all, how can I state it better than it was originally stated in primary sources?

I do agree to defend the position against what you believe makes it false. I am open and ready to hear where it is false.
jimtimmy
Posts: 3,953
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10/22/2011 5:14:57 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 10/22/2011 5:04:29 PM, Marximus wrote:
At 10/22/2011 4:22:20 PM, jimtimmy wrote:
At 10/22/2011 4:06:18 PM, Marximus wrote:
At 10/11/2011 7:23:47 PM, jimtimmy wrote:
It seems retarded to me... Can anyone defend it?

I am new to this forum, but I will gladly defend it for you. I just don't want to restate the whole position, as it is available in good form elsewhere. So if you have a scenario, as most do who disagree with it, that seems to undermine the theory, then, if you like, post the dilemma and I will attempt to resolve it to your satisfaction.

With that, I welcome your questions.

My main question is where is your defense of the Labor Theory of Value?

You didn't offer up any defense of it, except saying that Marx's theory is unbeatable... My question is why and how?

Oh. I am sorry. I thought I explained that I didn't want to actually restate the whole theory as your initial question sounded as if you know the theory well already and believe it is incorrect, as well as it being posted elsewhere online firsthand.

After all, how can I state it better than it was originally stated in primary sources?

I do agree to defend the position against what you believe makes it false. I am open and ready to hear where it is false.

Oh, sorry... I would say that

Okay, so here is my first question,

If I were to spend tons of time making Mud Pies, using up tons of labor.... And nobody wanted to buy these mud pies, how much value would they really have...
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Marximus
Posts: 8
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10/22/2011 7:27:54 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 10/22/2011 5:14:57 PM, jimtimmy wrote:
At 10/22/2011 5:04:29 PM, Marximus wrote:
At 10/22/2011 4:22:20 PM, jimtimmy wrote:
At 10/22/2011 4:06:18 PM, Marximus wrote:
At 10/11/2011 7:23:47 PM, jimtimmy wrote:
It seems retarded to me... Can anyone defend it?

I am new to this forum, but I will gladly defend it for you. I just don't want to restate the whole position, as it is available in good form elsewhere. So if you have a scenario, as most do who disagree with it, that seems to undermine the theory, then, if you like, post the dilemma and I will attempt to resolve it to your satisfaction.

With that, I welcome your questions.

My main question is where is your defense of the Labor Theory of Value?

You didn't offer up any defense of it, except saying that Marx's theory is unbeatable... My question is why and how?

Oh. I am sorry. I thought I explained that I didn't want to actually restate the whole theory as your initial question sounded as if you know the theory well already and believe it is incorrect, as well as it being posted elsewhere online firsthand.

After all, how can I state it better than it was originally stated in primary sources?

I do agree to defend the position against what you believe makes it false. I am open and ready to hear where it is false.

Oh, sorry... I would say that

Okay, so here is my first question,

If I were to spend tons of time making Mud Pies, using up tons of labor.... And nobody wanted to buy these mud pies, how much value would they really have...

Excellent, this was my first question too. It goes right to the hear to the matter, right to it. It is also the exact area Marx altered the theory on. So you nailed it!

Ok, so If I may quote first:

"Marx made socially necessary labor the regulator of value. The labor theory of value applied only to commodities, which were objects of human need. Labor expended in producing goods not demanded, or excess labor wasted in methods of production less efficient than the norm, was a dead loss. It was the function of the market price, in denying payment for such unnecessary labor, that brought the producer into accord with the wishes of society."

to continue...Marx himself

"We see then that that which determines the magnitude of the value of any article is the amount of labour socially necessary, or the labour time socially necessary for its production."

In other words, your labor time must be used to produce something that society feels is valuable, that they would exchange the products of their own socially necessary labor time...for yours.

This is Marx's contribution that makes the theory unbeatable. Not, again, because he is right but that he can't exactly be proved wrong because he ties the concept to a variable outside of economics...society's decisions of what is valuable or not. It has been attacked many ways, but none definitively have won.

So that's the first attempt at an answer. What do you think?
jimtimmy
Posts: 3,953
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10/22/2011 9:11:49 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 10/22/2011 7:27:54 PM, Marximus wrote:
At 10/22/2011 5:14:57 PM, jimtimmy wrote:
At 10/22/2011 5:04:29 PM, Marximus wrote:
At 10/22/2011 4:22:20 PM, jimtimmy wrote:
At 10/22/2011 4:06:18 PM, Marximus wrote:
At 10/11/2011 7:23:47 PM, jimtimmy wrote:
It seems retarded to me... Can anyone defend it?

I am new to this forum, but I will gladly defend it for you. I just don't want to restate the whole position, as it is available in good form elsewhere. So if you have a scenario, as most do who disagree with it, that seems to undermine the theory, then, if you like, post the dilemma and I will attempt to resolve it to your satisfaction.

With that, I welcome your questions.

My main question is where is your defense of the Labor Theory of Value?

You didn't offer up any defense of it, except saying that Marx's theory is unbeatable... My question is why and how?

Oh. I am sorry. I thought I explained that I didn't want to actually restate the whole theory as your initial question sounded as if you know the theory well already and believe it is incorrect, as well as it being posted elsewhere online firsthand.

After all, how can I state it better than it was originally stated in primary sources?

I do agree to defend the position against what you believe makes it false. I am open and ready to hear where it is false.

Oh, sorry... I would say that

Okay, so here is my first question,

If I were to spend tons of time making Mud Pies, using up tons of labor.... And nobody wanted to buy these mud pies, how much value would they really have...

Excellent, this was my first question too. It goes right to the hear to the matter, right to it. It is also the exact area Marx altered the theory on. So you nailed it!

Ok, so If I may quote first:

"Marx made socially necessary labor the regulator of value. The labor theory of value applied only to commodities, which were objects of human need. Labor expended in producing goods not demanded, or excess labor wasted in methods of production less efficient than the norm, was a dead loss. It was the function of the market price, in denying payment for such unnecessary labor, that brought the producer into accord with the wishes of society."

to continue...Marx himself

"We see then that that which determines the magnitude of the value of any article is the amount of labour socially necessary, or the labour time socially necessary for its production."

In other words, your labor time must be used to produce something that society feels is valuable, that they would exchange the products of their own socially necessary labor time...for yours.

This is Marx's contribution that makes the theory unbeatable. Not, again, because he is right but that he can't exactly be proved wrong because he ties the concept to a variable outside of economics...society's decisions of what is valuable or not. It has been attacked many ways, but none definitively have won.

So that's the first attempt at an answer. What do you think?

Very nice answer

I definitley see more value to the Labor Theory of Value than I did before

I still have a couple of issues, however. Namely, I wonder what the determinant of "socially valuable" is. It seems to me that the price would be this... which is determined on a basis of supply and demand, not inherent value.

Furthermore, is there a concrete line between "socially valuable" and "socially unvaluable"... I guarantee I can find someone somewhere who wants to buy my mud pies... But, since this person is one of the few people who wants to buy them, I probably could not sell them for very much. Despite putting a lot of labor into them.

And, if I were to find a massive diamond buried under my house, people would want to buy it and its value would be high, despite the fact that I did not put much labor into it.
President of DDO
socialpinko
Posts: 10,458
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10/22/2011 9:38:32 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 10/22/2011 7:27:54 PM, Marximus wrote:
At 10/22/2011 5:14:57 PM, jimtimmy wrote:
At 10/22/2011 5:04:29 PM, Marximus wrote:
At 10/22/2011 4:22:20 PM, jimtimmy wrote:
At 10/22/2011 4:06:18 PM, Marximus wrote:
At 10/11/2011 7:23:47 PM, jimtimmy wrote:
It seems retarded to me... Can anyone defend it?

I am new to this forum, but I will gladly defend it for you. I just don't want to restate the whole position, as it is available in good form elsewhere. So if you have a scenario, as most do who disagree with it, that seems to undermine the theory, then, if you like, post the dilemma and I will attempt to resolve it to your satisfaction.

With that, I welcome your questions.

My main question is where is your defense of the Labor Theory of Value?

You didn't offer up any defense of it, except saying that Marx's theory is unbeatable... My question is why and how?

Oh. I am sorry. I thought I explained that I didn't want to actually restate the whole theory as your initial question sounded as if you know the theory well already and believe it is incorrect, as well as it being posted elsewhere online firsthand.

After all, how can I state it better than it was originally stated in primary sources?

I do agree to defend the position against what you believe makes it false. I am open and ready to hear where it is false.

Oh, sorry... I would say that

Okay, so here is my first question,

If I were to spend tons of time making Mud Pies, using up tons of labor.... And nobody wanted to buy these mud pies, how much value would they really have...

Excellent, this was my first question too. It goes right to the hear to the matter, right to it. It is also the exact area Marx altered the theory on. So you nailed it!

Ok, so If I may quote first:

"Marx made socially necessary labor the regulator of value. The labor theory of value applied only to commodities, which were objects of human need. Labor expended in producing goods not demanded, or excess labor wasted in methods of production less efficient than the norm, was a dead loss. It was the function of the market price, in denying payment for such unnecessary labor, that brought the producer into accord with the wishes of society."

to continue...Marx himself

"We see then that that which determines the magnitude of the value of any article is the amount of labour socially necessary, or the labour time socially necessary for its production."

In other words, your labor time must be used to produce something that society feels is valuable, that they would exchange the products of their own socially necessary labor time...for yours.

This is Marx's contribution that makes the theory unbeatable. Not, again, because he is right but that he can't exactly be proved wrong because he ties the concept to a variable outside of economics...society's decisions of what is valuable or not. It has been attacked many ways, but none definitively have won.

So that's the first attempt at an answer. What do you think?

If it is ultimately grounded in society's preferences, doesn't the labor theory necessarily rely on the subjective theory?
: At 9/29/2014 10:55:59 AM, imabench wrote:
: : At 9/29/2014 9:43:46 AM, kbub wrote:
: :
: : DDO should discredit support of sexual violence at any time and in every way.
:
: I disagree.
Marximus
Posts: 8
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10/23/2011 4:45:38 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 10/22/2011 9:11:49 PM, jimtimmy wrote:
At 10/22/2011 7:27:54 PM, Marximus wrote:
At 10/22/2011 5:14:57 PM, jimtimmy wrote:
At 10/22/2011 5:04:29 PM, Marximus wrote:
At 10/22/2011 4:22:20 PM, jimtimmy wrote:
At 10/22/2011 4:06:18 PM, Marximus wrote:
At 10/11/2011 7:23:47 PM, jimtimmy wrote:
It seems retarded to me... Can anyone defend it?

I am new to this forum, but I will gladly defend it for you. I just don't want to restate the whole position, as it is available in good form elsewhere. So if you have a scenario, as most do who disagree with it, that seems to undermine the theory, then, if you like, post the dilemma and I will attempt to resolve it to your satisfaction.

With that, I welcome your questions.

My main question is where is your defense of the Labor Theory of Value?

You didn't offer up any defense of it, except saying that Marx's theory is unbeatable... My question is why and how?

Oh. I am sorry. I thought I explained that I didn't want to actually restate the whole theory as your initial question sounded as if you know the theory well already and believe it is incorrect, as well as it being posted elsewhere online firsthand.

After all, how can I state it better than it was originally stated in primary sources?

I do agree to defend the position against what you believe makes it false. I am open and ready to hear where it is false.

Oh, sorry... I would say that

Okay, so here is my first question,

If I were to spend tons of time making Mud Pies, using up tons of labor.... And nobody wanted to buy these mud pies, how much value would they really have...

Excellent, this was my first question too. It goes right to the hear to the matter, right to it. It is also the exact area Marx altered the theory on. So you nailed it!

Ok, so If I may quote first:

"Marx made socially necessary labor the regulator of value. The labor theory of value applied only to commodities, which were objects of human need. Labor expended in producing goods not demanded, or excess labor wasted in methods of production less efficient than the norm, was a dead loss. It was the function of the market price, in denying payment for such unnecessary labor, that brought the producer into accord with the wishes of society."

to continue...Marx himself

"We see then that that which determines the magnitude of the value of any article is the amount of labour socially necessary, or the labour time socially necessary for its production."

In other words, your labor time must be used to produce something that society feels is valuable, that they would exchange the products of their own socially necessary labor time...for yours.

This is Marx's contribution that makes the theory unbeatable. Not, again, because he is right but that he can't exactly be proved wrong because he ties the concept to a variable outside of economics...society's decisions of what is valuable or not. It has been attacked many ways, but none definitively have won.

So that's the first attempt at an answer. What do you think?

Very nice answer

I definitely see more value to the Labor Theory of Value than I did before


I still have a couple of issues, however. Namely, I wonder what the determinant of "socially valuable" is. It seems to me that the price would be this... which is determined on a basis of supply and demand, not inherent value.

Furthermore, is there a concrete line between "socially valuable" and "socially unvaluable"... I guarantee I can find someone somewhere who wants to buy my mud pies... But, since this person is one of the few people who wants to buy them, I probably could not sell them for very much. Despite putting a lot of labor into them.

And, if I were to find a massive diamond buried under my house, people would want to buy it and its value would be high, despite the fact that I did not put much labor into it.

Yes, indeed, very valid points. OK, so let me try to address these topics.

Personally speaking here, price is not so straightforward, to me, as supply and demand. I wish it were. I mean it is...but it is more nuanced than that.

But you are right, the buyer(s), as a representative of society, is making an implicit value judgement inherent in price. I think there is x value in your mud pie so I offer you y price. This means that society is ascribing value to your product, correct. So as the followup commentator stated, doesn't this mean that society's valuation determines the value?

And the answer is no. Society determines whether or not your labor was necessary, but does not determine the value. The value strictly arrives afterwards, when society then says, "now that we know this item is desirable, how hard (what did it cost...production costs) was it to make". In the sorting out of how hard it was to make, plus the profit incentive, buyer and seller arrive at price which is an attempt to make explicit the value.

Sorry if this is getting long. Society ultimately draws the line, and you are right again in your suspicions, there is no concrete line. In fact, that area is a huge area of debate as well...so good job again! After all, we know parenting is socially necessary labor...so what is it's value? Very interesting debates there. What is or is not socially necessary.

Suffice it to say, Marx jumped past this (However Engels circled back later and wrote about this in a rather shocking manner...some say inspiring early feminism). Marx just says, I'm not concerned with that. I am only saying it is this way and the effect is that the value inherent in a commodity AFTER society decides it is necessary is only how much labor it cost to produce it,on average.

Again, sorry if this it getting to long.

Ok, your last example is a very common argument because it does make sense. But at the risk of sounding rude, and I do NOT mean to sound rude at all, I can only say that it is based on a simple, often overlooked misunderstanding. Here is why:

A diamond is only valuable because the vast majority are not laying around. If all diamonds were on the surface, diamonds would not be worth much. Conversely, take sand for instance. The vast majority cost a good deal of labor to retrieve. Thus, finding one on the ground does not erase the fact that the labor inherent in retrieving other diamonds. Interestingly it can affect the price, as I can let that one go cheaper if I wished. But don't you think it would still cost the same amount?

So here is the social part again. The labor inherent in a commodity is inherent in all identical commodities, found or produced. The value of a diamond is not the exact amount it takes for me to dig one up or you to find one on the ground. The labor value for the item is the average of all known methods of retrieval, all known production costs, including the random one found here and there.

Gold is the same way. Some gold is found in a stream, some is found 100 million dollars later in the bowels of some mine. The cost in time, materials and energy of the laborer who found the gold in pan in a stream is averaged with the costs in time, materials and energy to dig it out of the earth.

To summarize, the labor value inherent in the production of a commodity is the average of all socially necessary labor (caveat here again...the labor method and type must be socially necessary.

I'm nearly out of space and this seems pretty darn long. My apologies. I will stop there for now and await where I failed. I don't think it was the clearest way to explain, but it may do. Let me know! :)
Marximus
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10/23/2011 4:59:14 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 10/22/2011 9:38:32 PM, socialpinko wrote:
At 10/22/2011 7:27:54 PM, Marximus wrote:
At 10/22/2011 5:14:57 PM, jimtimmy wrote:
At 10/22/2011 5:04:29 PM, Marximus wrote:
At 10/22/2011 4:22:20 PM, jimtimmy wrote:
At 10/22/2011 4:06:18 PM, Marximus wrote:
At 10/11/2011 7:23:47 PM, jimtimmy wrote:
It seems retarded to me... Can anyone defend it?

I am new to this forum, but I will gladly defend it for you. I just don't want to restate the whole position, as it is available in good form elsewhere. So if you have a scenario, as most do who disagree with it, that seems to undermine the theory, then, if you like, post the dilemma and I will attempt to resolve it to your satisfaction.

With that, I welcome your questions.

My main question is where is your defense of the Labor Theory of Value?

You didn't offer up any defense of it, except saying that Marx's theory is unbeatable... My question is why and how?

Oh. I am sorry. I thought I explained that I didn't want to actually restate the whole theory as your initial question sounded as if you know the theory well already and believe it is incorrect, as well as it being posted elsewhere online firsthand.

After all, how can I state it better than it was originally stated in primary sources?

I do agree to defend the position against what you believe makes it false. I am open and ready to hear where it is false.

Oh, sorry... I would say that

Okay, so here is my first question,

If I were to spend tons of time making Mud Pies, using up tons of labor.... And nobody wanted to buy these mud pies, how much value would they really have...

Excellent, this was my first question too. It goes right to the hear to the matter, right to it. It is also the exact area Marx altered the theory on. So you nailed it!

Ok, so If I may quote first:

"Marx made socially necessary labor the regulator of value. The labor theory of value applied only to commodities, which were objects of human need. Labor expended in producing goods not demanded, or excess labor wasted in methods of production less efficient than the norm, was a dead loss. It was the function of the market price, in denying payment for such unnecessary labor, that brought the producer into accord with the wishes of society."

to continue...Marx himself

"We see then that that which determines the magnitude of the value of any article is the amount of labour socially necessary, or the labour time socially necessary for its production."

In other words, your labor time must be used to produce something that society feels is valuable, that they would exchange the products of their own socially necessary labor time...for yours.

This is Marx's contribution that makes the theory unbeatable. Not, again, because he is right but that he can't exactly be proved wrong because he ties the concept to a variable outside of economics...society's decisions of what is valuable or not. It has been attacked many ways, but none definitively have won.

So that's the first attempt at an answer. What do you think?

If it is ultimately grounded in society's preferences, doesn't the labor theory necessarily rely on the subjective theory?

Yes sir, a common objection as well. Subjective theory however conflates price and value. Society does indeed, subjectively, determine the price and, prior to that, the necessity of a product (via demand). So the value ...arrives...subjectively at that point, you can say.

But the subjective desire, the demand which will then begin working out the price, did not Create the value inherent in the commodity. It merely validated the commodity (and thus the labor) as socially necessary via demand.

In the ensuing search for a price, the buyer and seller will now have to contend with the inherent value of the object now that the commodity has been approved, as it were.

So subjective theory says, society determines the value of an object and thus, then the price. But there is a confusing circularity to this logic.

Marx's Labor theory says, society determines validity, and then the price, of the inherent value in a commodity imbued by production costs (which all boil back to labor).

Is that a sufficient answer? Let me know where I failed to explain correctly.
jimtimmy
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10/24/2011 12:04:47 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 10/23/2011 4:45:38 PM, Marximus wrote:
At 10/22/2011 9:11:49 PM, jimtimmy wrote:


Very nice answer

I definitely see more value to the Labor Theory of Value than I did before


I still have a couple of issues, however. Namely, I wonder what the determinant of "socially valuable" is. It seems to me that the price would be this... which is determined on a basis of supply and demand, not inherent value.

Furthermore, is there a concrete line between "socially valuable" and "socially unvaluable"... I guarantee I can find someone somewhere who wants to buy my mud pies... But, since this person is one of the few people who wants to buy them, I probably could not sell them for very much. Despite putting a lot of labor into them.

And, if I were to find a massive diamond buried under my house, people would want to buy it and its value would be high, despite the fact that I did not put much labor into it.

Yes, indeed, very valid points. OK, so let me try to address these topics.

Personally speaking here, price is not so straightforward, to me, as supply and demand. I wish it were. I mean it is...but it is more nuanced than that.

But you are right, the buyer(s), as a representative of society, is making an implicit value judgement inherent in price. I think there is x value in your mud pie so I offer you y price. This means that society is ascribing value to your product, correct. So as the followup commentator stated, doesn't this mean that society's valuation determines the value?

And the answer is no. Society determines whether or not your labor was necessary, but does not determine the value. The value strictly arrives afterwards, when society then says, "now that we know this item is desirable, how hard (what did it cost...production costs) was it to make". In the sorting out of how hard it was to make, plus the profit incentive, buyer and seller arrive at price which is an attempt to make explicit the value.

Sorry if this is getting long. Society ultimately draws the line, and you are right again in your suspicions, there is no concrete line. In fact, that area is a huge area of debate as well...so good job again! After all, we know parenting is socially necessary labor...so what is it's value? Very interesting debates there. What is or is not socially necessary.

Suffice it to say, Marx jumped past this (However Engels circled back later and wrote about this in a rather shocking manner...some say inspiring early feminism). Marx just says, I'm not concerned with that. I am only saying it is this way and the effect is that the value inherent in a commodity AFTER society decides it is necessary is only how much labor it cost to produce it,on average.

Again, sorry if this it getting to long.

Ok, your last example is a very common argument because it does make sense. But at the risk of sounding rude, and I do NOT mean to sound rude at all, I can only say that it is based on a simple, often overlooked misunderstanding. Here is why:

A diamond is only valuable because the vast majority are not laying around. If all diamonds were on the surface, diamonds would not be worth much. Conversely, take sand for instance. The vast majority cost a good deal of labor to retrieve. Thus, finding one on the ground does not erase the fact that the labor inherent in retrieving other diamonds. Interestingly it can affect the price, as I can let that one go cheaper if I wished. But don't you think it would still cost the same amount?

So here is the social part again. The labor inherent in a commodity is inherent in all identical commodities, found or produced. The value of a diamond is not the exact amount it takes for me to dig one up or you to find one on the ground. The labor value for the item is the average of all known methods of retrieval, all known production costs, including the random one found here and there.

Gold is the same way. Some gold is found in a stream, some is found 100 million dollars later in the bowels of some mine. The cost in time, materials and energy of the laborer who found the gold in pan in a stream is averaged with the costs in time, materials and energy to dig it out of the earth.

To summarize, the labor value inherent in the production of a commodity is the average of all socially necessary labor (caveat here again...the labor method and type must be socially necessary.

I'm nearly out of space and this seem

Again, very solid answer...

I do have to say, though, that it seems as if we are starting to talk about value as something seperate from price. As in, Price is based on the subjective values of society and value is based on socially necessary labor.

To me, it seems as if price and value are one in the same. Price, to me, is value according to the subjective needs of whoever wants whatever.

In my view, nothing really has value beyond the value that it has to each individual person. If I were stranded in the desert, I would offer more for a bucket of water than a bucket of diamonds...

Value, in this view, is always subjective and never objective...

So, my question is: Does Objective "Value" Really Exist, or is Value Determined by Each Individual as how much value a Certain Item is of to Them, Subjectively of course?

And, why is an Objective Value Relevant or Necessary in the first place?

I would also like to thank you fo rbeing so respectful. It is rare to find people who are willing to have open debate on topics without getting angry or rude... Thank you for that
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Marximus
Posts: 8
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10/26/2011 9:41:39 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 10/24/2011 12:04:47 AM, jimtimmy wrote:
At 10/23/2011 4:45:38 PM, Marximus wrote:
At 10/22/2011 9:11:49 PM, jimtimmy wrote:


Very nice answer

I definitely see more value to the Labor Theory of Value than I did before


I still have a couple of issues, however. Namely, I wonder what the determinant of "socially valuable" is. It seems to me that the price would be this... which is determined on a basis of supply and demand, not inherent value.

Furthermore, is there a concrete line between "socially valuable" and "socially unvaluable"... I guarantee I can find someone somewhere who wants to buy my mud pies... But, since this person is one of the few people who wants to buy them, I probably could not sell them for very much. Despite putting a lot of labor into them.

And, if I were to find a massive diamond buried under my house, people would want to buy it and its value would be high, despite the fact that I did not put much labor into it.

Yes, indeed, very valid points. OK, so let me try to address these topics.

Personally speaking here, price is not so straightforward, to me, as supply and demand. I wish it were. I mean it is...but it is more nuanced than that.

But you are right, the buyer(s), as a representative of society, is making an implicit value judgement inherent in price. I think there is x value in your mud pie so I offer you y price. This means that society is ascribing value to your product, correct. So as the followup commentator stated, doesn't this mean that society's valuation determines the value?

And the answer is no. Society determines whether or not your labor was necessary, but does not determine the value. The value strictly arrives afterwards, when society then says, "now that we know this item is desirable, how hard (what did it cost...production costs) was it to make". In the sorting out of how hard it was to make, plus the profit incentive, buyer and seller arrive at price which is an attempt to make explicit the value.

Sorry if this is getting long. Society ultimately draws the line, and you are right again in your suspicions, there is no concrete line. In fact, that area is a huge area of debate as well...so good job again! After all, we know parenting is socially necessary labor...so what is it's value? Very interesting debates there. What is or is not socially necessary.

Suffice it to say, Marx jumped past this (However Engels circled back later and wrote about this in a rather shocking manner...some say inspiring early feminism). Marx just says, I'm not concerned with that. I am only saying it is this way and the effect is that the value inherent in a commodity AFTER society decides it is necessary is only how much labor it cost to produce it,on average.

Again, sorry if this it getting to long.

Ok, your last example is a very common argument because it does make sense. But at the risk of sounding rude, and I do NOT mean to sound rude at all, I can only say that it is based on a simple, often overlooked misunderstanding. Here is why:

A diamond is only valuable because the vast majority are not laying around. If all diamonds were on the surface, diamonds would not be worth much. Conversely, take sand for instance. The vast majority cost a good deal of labor to retrieve. Thus, finding one on the ground does not erase the fact that the labor inherent in retrieving other diamonds. Interestingly it can affect the price, as I can let that one go cheaper if I wished. But don't you think it would still cost the same amount?

So here is the social part again. The labor inherent in a commodity is inherent in all identical commodities, found or produced. The value of a diamond is not the exact amount it takes for me to dig one up or you to find one on the ground. The labor value for the item is the average of all known methods of retrieval, all known production costs, including the random one found here and there.

Gold is the same way. Some gold is found in a stream, some is found 100 million dollars later in the bowels of some mine. The cost in time, materials and energy of the laborer who found the gold in pan in a stream is averaged with the costs in time, materials and energy to dig it out of the earth.

To summarize, the labor value inherent in the production of a commodity is the average of all socially necessary labor (caveat here again...the labor method and type must be socially necessary.

I'm nearly out of space and this seem

Again, very solid answer...

I do have to say, though, that it seems as if we are starting to talk about value as something seperate from price. As in, Price is based on the subjective values of society and value is based on socially necessary labor.

To me, it seems as if price and value are one in the same. Price, to me, is value according to the subjective needs of whoever wants whatever.

In my view, nothing really has value beyond the value that it has to each individual person. If I were stranded in the desert, I would offer more for a bucket of water than a bucket of diamonds...

Value, in this view, is always subjective and never objective...

So, my question is: Does Objective "Value" Really Exist, or is Value Determined by Each Individual as how much value a Certain Item is of to Them, Subjectively of course?

And, why is an Objective Value Relevant or Necessary in the first place?

I would also like to thank you fo rbeing so respectful. It is rare to find people who are willing to have open debate on topics without getting angry or rude... Thank you for that

Trying to find the time to reply here as, once again, your comments are piercing and require a heavy word count to do justice. I will post soon. I just want to return the same final sentiment to you though. If only debating on the internet didn't seem to constantly devolve into emotional screaming where no one is actually listening to each other. The same thing occurs when debating face to face though, so I am not hopeful. I am as guilty of it as any I suppose, but I try to be otherwise. You are making this easy by extending respect in return, so you deserve thanks as well. And, if I may say, and I am not one for cheap compliments but, if you really are 17...then you are a bona fide genius. If I had an 1/8th of your capability when I was 17, I'd be lying. Maybe today as well. Seriously...you are crazy smart for 17.

I will post soon.
jimtimmy
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10/26/2011 10:12:08 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 10/26/2011 9:41:39 AM, Marximus wrote:
At 10/24/2011 12:04:47 AM, jimtimmy wrote:
At 10/23/2011 4:45:38 PM, Marximus wrote:
At 10/22/2011 9:11:49 PM, jimtimmy wrote:


Very nice answer

I definitely see more value to the Labor Theory of Value than I did before


I still have a couple of issues, however. Namely, I wonder what the determinant of "socially valuable" is. It seems to me that the price would be this... which is determined on a basis of supply and demand, not inherent value.

Furthermore, is there a concrete line between "socially valuable" and "socially unvaluable"... I guarantee I can find someone somewhere who wants to buy my mud pies... But, since this person is one of the few people who wants to buy them, I probably could not sell them for very much. Despite putting a lot of labor into them.

And, if I were to find a massive diamond buried under my house, people would want to buy it and its value would be high, despite the fact that I did not put much labor into it.

Yes, indeed, very valid points. OK, so let me try to address these topics.

Personally speaking here, price is not so straightforward, to me, as supply and demand. I wish it were. I mean it is...but it is more nuanced than that.

But you are right, the buyer(s), as a representative of society, is making an implicit value judgement inherent in price. I think there is x value in your mud pie so I offer you y price. This means that society is ascribing value to your product, correct. So as the followup commentator stated, doesn't this mean that society's valuation determines the value?

And the answer is no. Society determines whether or not your labor was necessary, but does not determine the value. The value strictly arrives afterwards, when society then says, "now that we know this item is desirable, how hard (what did it cost...production costs) was it to make". In the sorting out of how hard it was to make, plus the profit incentive, buyer and seller arrive at price which is an attempt to make explicit the value.

Sorry if this is getting long. Society ultimately draws the line, and you are right again in your suspicions, there is no concrete line. In fact, that area is a huge area of debate as well...so good job again! After all, we know parenting is socially necessary labor...so what is it's value? Very interesting debates there. What is or is not socially necessary.

Suffice it to say, Marx jumped past this (However Engels circled back later and wrote about this in a rather shocking manner...some say inspiring early feminism). Marx just says, I'm not concerned with that. I am only saying it is this way and the effect is that the value inherent in a commodity AFTER society decides it is necessary is only how much labor it cost to produce it,on average.

Again, sorry if this it getting to long.

Ok, your last example is a very common argument because it does make sense. But at the risk of sounding rude, and I do NOT mean to sound rude at all, I can only say that it is based on a simple, often overlooked misunderstanding. Here is why:

A diamond is only valuable because the vast majority are not laying around. If all diamonds were on the surface, diamonds would not be worth much. Conversely, take sand for instance. The vast majority cost a good deal of labor to retrieve. Thus, finding one on the ground does not erase the fact that the labor inherent in retrieving other diamonds. Interestingly it can affect the price, as I can let that one go cheaper if I wished. But don't you think it would still cost the same amount?

So here is the social part again. The labor inherent in a commodity is inherent in all identical commodities, found or produced. The value of a diamond is not the exact amount it takes for me to dig one up or you to find one on the ground. The labor value for the item is the average of all known methods of retrieval, all known production costs, including the random one found here and there.

Gold is the same way. Some gold is found in a stream, some is found 100 million dollars later in the bowels of some mine. The cost in time, materials and energy of the laborer who found the gold in pan in a stream is averaged with the costs in time, materials and energy to dig it out of the earth.

To summarize, the labor value inherent in the production of a commodity is the average of all socially necessary labor (caveat here again...the labor method and type must be socially necessary.

I'm nearly out of space and this seem

Again, very solid answer...

I do have to say, though, that it seems as if we are starting to talk about value as something seperate from price. As in, Price is based on the subjective values of society and value is based on socially necessary labor.

To me, it seems as if price and value are one in the same. Price, to me, is value according to the subjective needs of whoever wants whatever.

In my view, nothing really has value beyond the value that it has to each individual person. If I were stranded in the desert, I would offer more for a bucket of water than a bucket of diamonds...

Value, in this view, is always subjective and never objective...

So, my question is: Does Objective "Value" Really Exist, or is Value Determined by Each Individual as how much value a Certain Item is of to Them, Subjectively of course?

And, why is an Objective Value Relevant or Necessary in the first place?

I would also like to thank you fo rbeing so respectful. It is rare to find people who are willing to have open debate on topics without getting angry or rude... Thank you for that

Trying to find the time to reply here as, once again, your comments are piercing and require a heavy word count to do justice. I will post soon. I just want to return the same final sentiment to you though. If only debating on the internet didn't seem to constantly devolve into emotional screaming where no one is actually listening to each other. The same thing occurs when debating face to face though, so I am not hopeful. I am as guilty of it as any I suppose, but I try to be otherwise. You are making this easy by extending respect in return, so you deserve thanks as well. And, if I may say, and I am not one for cheap compliments but, if you really are 17...then you are a bona fide genius. If I had an 1/8th of your capability when I was 17, I'd be lying. Maybe today as well. Seriously...you are crazy smart for 17.

I will post soon.

Thank you for the kind words, and same to you. I have never seen anyone defend the LTV (Labor Theory of Value) so well... It certainly is something of a contrarian position today, and you are doing a good job defending it...

I look forward to your next post
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Marximus
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10/28/2011 12:34:40 PM
Posted: 5 years ago

Again, very solid answer...

I do have to say, though, that it seems as if we are starting to talk about value as something seperate from price. As in, Price is based on the subjective values of society and value is based on socially necessary labor.

To me, it seems as if price and value are one in the same. Price, to me, is value according to the subjective needs of whoever wants whatever.

In my view, nothing really has value beyond the value that it has to each individual person. If I were stranded in the desert, I would offer more for a bucket of water than a bucket of diamonds...

Value, in this view, is always subjective and never objective...

So, my question is: Does Objective "Value" Really Exist, or is Value Determined by Each Individual as how much value a Certain Item is of to Them, Subjectively of course?

And, why is an Objective Value Relevant or Necessary in the first place?

I would also like to thank you fo rbeing so respectful. It is rare to find people who are willing to have open debate on topics without getting angry or rude... Thank you for that

Ok, I am back. ;)

So I have been thinking over the best way to respond, with the least words but with maximum clarity. Your comments opened up many interesting things to talk about. Let's start with the first idea, echoed by socialpinko as well, and I will attempt to incorporate the other comments as well.

Here though a caveat is required. I am not 100% on the definition, or even the difference, between value and price in subjective theory. Maybe you could tell me? I don't want to make a straw man out of it and misrepresent it so I will leave it aside. I will just speak from Marx's ltv.

In Marx's ltv, in fact just prior to it, the nature of commodities is discussed. In fact, marx's understanding of commodities supports ltv, ltv requires it. Marx's understanding of commodities is no different than Smith and Ricardo, whom he studied deeply, and whose ideas he either repeats or modifies. In this case, Marx tends to go much deeper, analytically, than seems required. Marx was formally a philosophy student under Hegel, who is notorious for this type of behavior as well...endlessly pulling apart the sum to study the composition of the parts.

The resulting analysis of a commodity is very complicated and long winded. I will briefly summarize.

Every commodity is the result of nature, if you concede that men are the offspring of nature and human labor power is a force of nature just like the force that creates diamonds or rain. As such, human labor power works against or with nature to produce something that has value.

Not content to leave it at that, marx analyzes the nature of this 'value' and splits it into two: use value and exchange value.

Use value is the value of my house, as a haven from the elements. Exchange Value is the sum of what I would receive if I were to sell my house.

Commodities only have exchange value, because of their use value. And, as you probably suspect, the Use value is the value which, as you stated correctly, is subjective and meted out by society's needs. If society has a desire to USE something, it therefore has a desire to Exchange something for that opportunity.

And you were absolutely right, and we could talk at great length about it, when you took issue with my use of the phrase "Objective value". I misspoke. I shouldn't have aid that. All value is of course subjective. I misspoke by trying to convey the concept that value of the labor that creates a commodity's use value Precedes the exchange value. Use value is a priori exchange value. Why? Because exchange value is not a required attribute of a commodity.

Granted, I can hear your brain working. Yes, there are complications here. For instance, financial products (securities etc) have no real use value, but they do have exchange value. Precisely! An area of terrible importance to ltv.

However, financial products aside, and manipulations of currency nd all manner of what we can call "money games" aside, if you create a commodity with a socially necessary Use Value, then the average labor power employed to produce the commodity, given certain average conditions, is the value which rests, as it were, a priori, waiting to be contended with IF the holder decides to exchange. It is not objective. You were right. I only mean to say the value of the labor is there, in my house, which I use, regardless if I sell.

In other words, if you USE an object, the value of a commodity is...imbued...by the amount of socially necessary labor time required to produce it regardless if you exchange it or just keep it. Objects have a use value and an exchange value.

Now, on to the exchange value. If you don't wish to exchange something, and notice I keep saying exchange and not sell, then the labor power invested in the commodity lies dormant. But, when I want to exchange, the labor required in it's production is activated, if you will.

This is no different than current economics which states the same only it shifts the terminology from Labor to Production Costs. That is, the exchange value of an item must cover Production Costs +/- Government Intervention + Profit motive= exchange value.

But in Marx's world, Labor is the only production cost, and mainstream economists know this, but they obfuscate this fact because it is otherwise politically dangerous. Marx calls this "vulgar economics".

Sorry. So now we arrive at is Price=value. It is a common question. And, like I said, I am ignorant to how it is handled in other theories. But, as you can tell already, price and value must be distinct since they have yet to enter the discussion.

Price, in ltv, is AN expression of value. More precisely, price is the monetary expression of the exchange value of a commodity. Confusing? I hope not.

Let's look at it this way. I don't have to give you money to exchange with you. Commodities have an exchange value, but outside a monetary system, they don't have a price. So like use value is a priori exchange value, exchange value does not equal price. My bucket of diamonds can have a price of x dollars, or it can be worth 3,000 tons of corn, or 8,000 tons of watermelons, or, in your example, less than a bucket of water.

So, commodities can have a price expression, or not. If they do not, they still have both a use value and an exchange value.

There are still many other ways to look at this in the negative as well. For instance, if I steal from you that bucket of diamonds, we have exchanged the diamonds, albeit involuntarily. I paid nothing so price=0. But they diamonds are surely still valuable, and ltv states they still are valuable because of the labor it required to produce them.

I'll have to stop here, I have written too much again and am not pleased with the outcome. Let me know where I botched this up.

Cheers.
jimtimmy
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10/30/2011 9:01:54 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 10/28/2011 12:34:40 PM, Marximus wrote:

Again, very solid answer...

I do have to say, though, that it seems as if we are starting to talk about value as something seperate from price. As in, Price is based on the subjective values of society and value is based on socially necessary labor.

To me, it seems as if price and value are one in the same. Price, to me, is value according to the subjective needs of whoever wants whatever.

In my view, nothing really has value beyond the value that it has to each individual person. If I were stranded in the desert, I would offer more for a bucket of water than a bucket of diamonds...

Value, in this view, is always subjective and never objective...

So, my question is: Does Objective "Value" Really Exist, or is Value Determined by Each Individual as how much value a Certain Item is of to Them, Subjectively of course?

And, why is an Objective Value Relevant or Necessary in the first place?

I would also like to thank you fo rbeing so respectful. It is rare to find people who are willing to have open debate on topics without getting angry or rude... Thank you for that

Ok, I am back. ;)

So I have been thinking over the best way to respond, with the least words but with maximum clarity. Your comments opened up many interesting things to talk about. Let's start with the first idea, echoed by socialpinko as well, and I will attempt to incorporate the other comments as well.

Here though a caveat is required. I am not 100% on the definition, or even the difference, between value and price in subjective theory. Maybe you could tell me? I don't want to make a straw man out of it and misrepresent it so I will leave it aside. I will just speak from Marx's ltv.

In Marx's ltv, in fact just prior to it, the nature of commodities is discussed. In fact, marx's understanding of commodities supports ltv, ltv requires it. Marx's understanding of commodities is no different than Smith and Ricardo, whom he studied deeply, and whose ideas he either repeats or modifies. In this case, Marx tends to go much deeper, analytically, than seems required. Marx was formally a philosophy student under Hegel, who is notorious for this type of behavior as well...endlessly pulling apart the sum to study the composition of the parts.

The resulting analysis of a commodity is very complicated and long winded. I will briefly summarize.

Every commodity is the result of nature, if you concede that men are the offspring of nature and human labor power is a force of nature just like the force that creates diamonds or rain. As such, human labor power works against or with nature to produce something that has value.

Not content to leave it at that, marx analyzes the nature of this 'value' and splits it into two: use value and exchange value.

Use value is the value of my house, as a haven from the elements. Exchange Value is the sum of what I would receive if I were to sell my house.

Commodities only have exchange value, because of their use value. And, as you probably suspect, the Use value is the value which, as you stated correctly, is subjective and meted out by society's needs. If society has a desire to USE something, it therefore has a desire to Exchange something for that opportunity.

And you were absolutely right, and we could talk at great length about it, when you took issue with my use of the phrase "Objective value". I misspoke. I shouldn't have aid that. All value is of course subjective. I misspoke by trying to convey the concept that value of the labor that creates a commodity's use value Precedes the exchange value. Use value is a priori exchange value. Why? Because exchange value is not a required attribute of a commodity.

Granted, I can hear your brain working. Yes, there are complications here. For instance, financial products (securities etc) have no real use value, but they do have exchange value. Precisely! An area of terrible importance to ltv.

However, financial products aside, and manipulations of currency nd all manner of what we can call "money games" aside, if you create a commodity with a socially necessary Use Value, then the average labor power employed to produce the commodity, given certain average conditions, is the value which rests, as it were, a priori, waiting to be contended with IF the holder decides to exchange. It is not objective. You were right. I only mean to say the value of the labor is there, in my house, which I use, regardless if I sell.

In other words, if you USE an object, the value of a commodity is...imbued...by the amount of socially necessary labor time required to produce it regardless if you exchange it or just keep it. Objects have a use value and an exchange value.

Now, on to the exchange value. If you don't wish to exchange something, and notice I keep saying exchange and not sell, then the labor power invested in the commodity lies dormant. But, when I want to exchange, the labor required in it's production is activated, if you will.

This is no different than current economics which states the same only it shifts the terminology from Labor to Production Costs. That is, the exchange value of an item must cover Production Costs +/- Government Intervention + Profit motive= exchange value.

But in Marx's world, Labor is the only production cost, and mainstream economists know this, but they obfuscate this fact because it is otherwise politically dangerous. Marx calls this "vulgar economics".

Sorry. So now we arrive at is Price=value. It is a common question. And, like I said, I am ignorant to how it is handled in other theories. But, as you can tell already, price and value must be distinct since they have yet to enter the discussion.

Price, in ltv, is AN expression of value. More precisely, price is the monetary expression of the exchange value of a commodity. Confusing? I hope not.

Let's look at it this way. I don't have to give you money to exchange with you. Commodities have an exchange value, but outside a monetary system, they don't have a price. So like use value is a priori exchange value, exchange value does not equal price. My bucket of diamonds can have a price of x dollars, or it can be worth 3,000 tons of corn, or 8,000 tons of watermelons, or, in your example, less than a bucket of water.

So, commodities can have a price expression, or not. If they do not, they still have both a use value and an exchange value.

There are still many other ways to look at this in the negative as well. For instance, if I steal from you that bucket of diamonds, we have exchanged the diamonds, albeit involuntarily. I paid nothing so price=0. But they diamonds are surely still valuable, and ltv states they still are valuable because of the labor it required to produce them.

I'll have to stop here, I have written too much again and am not pleased with the outcome. Let me know where I botched this up.

Cheers.

Good and interesting points.

Lol, I will try to respond to this at some point. Probably tommorrow, but possibly the next day.

Again, though, you make some very good points.
President of DDO