Presentation on theme: "The wealth of societies in which the capitalist mode of production prevails appears as an «immense collection of commodities»; the individual commodity."— Presentation transcript:
The wealth of societies in which the capitalist mode of production prevails appears as an «immense collection of commodities»; the individual commodity appears as its elementary form. Our investigation therefore begins with the analysis of the commodity. (p. 125) … and thus it begins:
Use-value A Chair You can sit or stand on it, it’s comfortable and made of nice wood, it burns well, etc. A Book You can read it, it’s made of paper, it’s interesting or boring, etc. Use-Value is comprised of the material properties and subjective utility of a product. The usefulness of a thing makes it a use-value. (p. 126)
[Use-values] constitute the material content of wealth, whatever its social form may be. In the form of society to be considered here they are also the material bearers of exchange-value. (p. 126) Material content and social form Material content: A sack of wheat Social form in feudalism: Tribute/tithe Material content: A sack of wheat Social form in capitalism: Commodity
Exchange-value The exchange-value of a commodity is what one receives in exchange for this commodity: 1 chair = 2 pairs of pants Statement A: 1 chair is the exchange-value of 2 pairs of pants. Statement B: 2 pairs of pants are the exchange-value of 1 chair.
1 chair Every commodity has many different exchange-values If these equations are valid … 2 pairs of pants 3 bottles of wine 1 taxi ride =
… then so is the following: If 2 pairs of pants, 3 bottles of wine and 1 taxi ride are all exchange-values of 1 chair … … then they must, «as exchange-values, be mutually replaceable or of identical magnitude». (p. 127) 2 pairs of pants 3 bottles of wine 1 taxi ride = = = =
… The valid exchange- values of a particular commodity express something equal … (p. 127) … and from that follows: … Exchange-value cannot be anything other than the mode of expression, the «form of appearance», of a content distinguishable from it. (p. 127)
From exchange-value to value 1 chair = 2 pairs of pants Chair and pants must have something in common, but this has nothing to do with their material properties. But what is this common, third thing? ? ? ? BECAUSE: It is precisely the abstraction from their use-values that characterizes the relationship of exchange of commodities. This abstraction occurs at the moment of exchange.
Value What remains when we abstract from all useful, concrete, sensuous-material properties of the commodity? Then the commodities are merely products of labour, not of a particular concrete act of labour, but rather of abstract human labour, labour as such. As crystals of this social substance, which is common to them all, they are values – commodity values. (p. 128)
Value and exchange-value I Exchange-value That which one obtains in exchange for a commodity, and a form of appearance of value. Value The social substance common to all: «spectral objectivity.» The common factor in the exchange relation, or in the exchange-value of the commodity, is therefore its value. (p. 128)
Value and exchange-value II The substance constituting value: abstract human labour Exchange-value The common third property: value = =
The magnitude of value It is not individually expended labour time which is constitutive of value, but rather socially necessary labour time. What is that? Only that labour power that has the character of socially average labour power. What is socially average labour power? Socially normal conditions of production The socially average degree of skills on the part of the worker The socially average degree of the intensity of labour
… The greater the productivity of labour, the less the labour-time required to produce an article, the less the mass of labour crystallized in that article, and the less its value. (p. 131) The productivity of labour
Increase in productivity The production of 3 tables takes 60 hours: = 60 hours = 30 hours Value of an individual table Now the production of 3 tables only takes 30 hours: After the purchase and use of machinery:
Concluding clarifications There are commodities that are not the product of labour: they have use- value and can have an exchange-value (if they are sold), but no value. Example: virgin soil There are products of labour with use-value, but no exchange-value: Whoever does not exchange his product has not produced a commodity, and hence has not produced value. Example: baking a pizza at home for friends A product that cannot be exchanged (since nobody wants it), does not have use-value for others, and is therefore useless. The labour embodied in it proves to be useless. Here, exchange-value is not a form of appearance of value. No value, no exchange value, only use-value. No use-value for others, therefore no value, and therefore not a commodity.