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Thu Nov 22, 2012, 10:00 AM

Karl Marx Explains the Labor Theory of Value





Bob Weick as Karl Marx in Iron Age Theatre's 'Marx in Soho' by Howard Zinn. Marx's complex ideas are reinterpreted by his wife Jenny. From a performance at the Capital Fringe in July 2007


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Arrow 11 replies Author Time Post
Reply Karl Marx Explains the Labor Theory of Value (Original post)
marmar Nov 2012 OP
Nederland Nov 2012 #1
Democracyinkind Nov 2012 #2
patrice Nov 2012 #6
PATRICK Nov 2012 #10
Starry Messenger Nov 2012 #4
dexterborg Nov 2012 #3
xtraxritical Nov 2012 #5
Nederland Nov 2012 #7
xtraxritical Nov 2012 #8
Nederland Nov 2012 #9
limpyhobbler Nov 2012 #11

Response to marmar (Original post)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 11:20 AM

1. Interesting way of presenting Marx's ideas

The Labor Theory of Value's failure to see how the demand for something (how badly people want it) impacts its value was the primary reason it failed as an economic theory. If the value of an object were actually determined only by 'the cost of the means of subsistence', a Picasso would have the same value as a drawing by my six year old.

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Response to Nederland (Reply #1)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 01:39 PM

2. Not that I disagree


But I love quoting Mohr:

"But to consider matters more broadly: You would be altogether mistaken in fancying that the value of labour or any other commodity whatever is ultimately fixed by supply and demand. Supply and demand regulate nothing but the temporary fluctuations of market prices. They will explain to you why the market price of a commodity rises above or sinks below its value, but they can never account for the value itself. Suppose supply and demand to equilibrate, or, as the economists call it, to cover each other. Why, the very moment these opposite forces become equal they paralyze each other, and cease to work in the one or other direction. At the moment when supply and demand equilibrate each other, and therefore cease to act, the market price of a commodity coincides with its real value, with the standard price round which its market prices oscillate. In inquiring into the nature of that VALUE, we have therefore nothing at all to do with the temporary effects on market prices of supply and demand. The same holds true of wages and of the prices of all other commodities."

I looked it up in my library, found it in german. A quick google leads me to this site that provides the english Text:

http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1865/value-price-profit/ch01.htm#c4

I think for a Marxist, the question is just as much philosophical as it is technical. To me, the important question always was: What SHOULD value be based on, not what IS value based on? But that's just me.

As a general rule, if something was good enough for Old Abe, it's good enough for me.

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Response to Democracyinkind (Reply #2)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 03:10 PM

6. Thanks for this affirmation: "To me, the important question always was: What SHOULD value be based

based on, not what IS value based on."

That has been my thought for some time now. Though less well read on the subject than you are, it has just seemed very clear to me that our financial history illustrates the apparently arbitrary nature of the value of a dollar and yet it's universal application to assumptions about value. All social justice commentary is couched in those arbitrary $ terms. Because a rational projection of these facts suggests the likelihood of ever increasing struggle for power over that politically arbitrary value, even to the ultimate point symbolized as two people holding guns to each others heads, i.e. the essence of capitalism, we should be talking about a more functional, a more fundamentally economic, and less political, sense of that word.

In that regard, I think the etymology of the Greek roots in the word "economic" are quite evocative: eco-, TTE, essence -tial relationship (as in, blood or family) + naming (sorry I can't remember that Greek root and don't have an Oxford English Dictionary handy), so that would be value identified by naming/defining essence (i.e. that without which a thing is not what it is and is, rather, something else entirely) -tial functional (as in "what exactly and concretely does it do?) relationships, as a starting point.

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Response to patrice (Reply #6)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 04:23 PM

10. Value as far as

human life is concerned is human work and resources and products necessary for life. Food. Shelter. Clothing. Energy. Environmental coping. Value is in the human person and potential then. On our present extreme, a real fog making pyramid in an expanding uninhabitable desert, value resides in abstracted numbers locked away to give certain persons potential and fake value that can only be demonstrated by denial and even destruction of real life value. I can't work, learn, have shelter or health care because pyramid and centralized wealth not in service of the commons has to enable symbolic reality and elitist tyranny.

So much phony inflated numbers that any return to real value implies a crash- which usually precedes a return to survival value. The trouble begins when you go beyond the minimum, the necessary and the trading of choices. Barter might be nice if humans were more rational, civic minded
and modest about acquiring value after necessities are satisfied. Subsistence too is not guaranteed by nature or civilization. Saving us from ourselves should move us from wasteful shipping of necessities and frivolities across the globe as a physical triumph of valueless growth. I guess this how intelligent animals hustle toward extinction, through triumph of the will in affirmation of fantasy. It seems the only goal is that a few will have so much they should get through a massive die out. In that scenario though human life as such has so little value it is a perceived negative in the scales of Nature.

The fortunes locked away and not allowed to be used enforcing a negation of all real value are perhaps the worst absurdity in this world.

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Response to Nederland (Reply #1)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 01:48 PM

4. Actually Marx accounts for that.

Individual labor time is not the same as socially necessary labor time.

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 01:41 PM

3. Theory of value?

What about the theory of work and appreciation!!

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Response to dexterborg (Reply #3)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 02:20 PM

5. How come prices never, ever, go down?

 

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Response to xtraxritical (Reply #5)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 03:16 PM

7. Ummm, they do

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Response to Nederland (Reply #7)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 03:21 PM

8. Where do you live?

 

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Response to xtraxritical (Reply #8)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 03:33 PM

9. Boulder, CO

Why

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 05:43 PM

11. I was delighted to find this video was only one minute long. nt

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