Use & Exhange

What is the relationship between use value and exchange value? The beef Marxists have with the commodity form is that commodities are only produced for their exchange value as a way to accumulate capital, but isn't that exchange value predicated upon its use value? If a commodity didn't fulfill a social need, who would be willing to buy it?

People misled through advertisement and cultural indoctrination. Kay diamonds don't fulfill a social need, they're not even fucking rare, but people buy them because they've been told love can only be expressed through commodities.

A product needs to have a use-value in order to have an exchange value, thus becoming a commodity.

Yes they do:
>A commodity is, in the first place, an object outside us, a thing that by its properties satisfies human wants of some sort or another. The nature of such wants, whether, for instance, they spring from the stomach or from fancy, makes no difference.

People have no inherent desire for diamond rings. If they did there wouldn't be an extensive advertising industry selling them or that literally created the demand for them 100 years ago. It's like a firefighter arsonist saying he's fulfilling a need; the need only exists because he does.

Have you ever seen birds taking shiny things for their nest?

Think about it for a minute.


Nobody has inherent desire for anything. Anyway, the point is that it doesn't matter why people desire this or that.

Shiny things are cheap.

No, it's not. Exchange value is affected by several factors such as overall total cost. For example, imposing a lower net tax liability on an item can increase its exchange value (the value of a piece of used equipment can be boosted by its depreciability when it's offered to a business). Marketing a item to artificially synthesize demand for it so that it becomes rare (such as with the SNES Mini) can also increase its exchange value. Recovered childhood photos from a burning house have immense exchange value yet almost nil use value. Note that none of these factors have much to do with the Labor Theory of Value.

Didn't you mean the opposite?

That's an example of the market being manipulated to maximize a commodity's price which is an expression of exchange value, sure. But had that commodity's exchange value not been predicated upon its use value (playing SNES games on your HDTV) to fulfill a social need (retro game enthusiasts want to play SNES games), could it have any at all? Who would exchange anything for something that doesn't have a use value?

My point was the exchange values of commodities do not have to correlate with their use values. Even if diamonds are desired, they're not very useful.

That's not true. It is solely based upon the total amount of socially necessary labor imbued into it.
Because you completely misunderstood it and what exchange value is. Price or cost is not the same thing as exchange value. Exchange value also only applies to commodities, not unique objects like childhood photos. WLC is a great introduction.

A commodity's exchange value is solely predicated upon its socially necessary labor time. It's not correlated with its use value, which is subjective to the individual.
An exchange value isn't how exchangeable it is, just what it would exchange for it was.

Something needs to have a use value to be saleable, even if you need to create a need for it.

Apart from that, there no relation between how useful something is and how expensive it is - this is the so called 'paradox of value' that was resolved by the labour theory of value or supply and demand, take your pick.

The problem is that the drive to produce commodities for a profit can override getting use-values to people who need them (people can be thrown out of work for the sake of profitability, who then cannot fulfill their needs because they lack the money).

There is no relationship between use and exchange to properly delineate them, although they can be (but this state of difference can be dissolved the minute it is exchanged or "utilized"). The entire premise is interventionist (oh, he isn't using it as I deem fit, my opinion is relevant to his life now) and dismisses the subjective interpretation the consumer might have on some item. People often purchase things and don't even get any use out of them. Sometimes it's just a showpiece. Other times people purchase items simply to sell them off, like getting a house to flip/restore it, then sell it to somebody else. It all depends on what the person wants to do. You could do both, as many people do.

Use value doesn't mean something is "useful" in the strictest sense, it means that it fulfills a social need. A video game is not "useful" (you could survive without its help) but that doesn't mean it doesn't have any use value to vidya enthusiasts.

Use-values are not social, they are subjective.

No, use-value is the objective set of characteristics that makes a product subjectively useful.

So which is it?

Use-value is subjective, that it is based on the concrete properties of a thing does not change this. The disagreeing user just lacks the logic to understand that they was agreeing with the other poster.

It is not based in the concrete properties. It is the concrete properties.

Explain this then

"Use or consumption" is what makes concrete properties not just any concrete properties, but a use-value.


If someone else is eating an apple, is it a use-value to me?

Do you need an apple?

If that matter then use-value is subjective.

No. What is subjective is the fact that you call it a use-value or not. But its essence is objective.

Stop twisting your words! It's a subjective form of a concrete thing, therefore it is subjective. Its "essence" changes nothing.

To give you an illustration: I may express the mass of an object in grams, in pounds, or in any unit I invented: it's subjective; but the mass itself is objective: it won't change no matter how I express it.

You seem to lack the logic to understand this concept, user.

What is the relationship of exchange value to cost of production?

The mass of an object is objective, it is not subjective at all. Do you even know what subjective means?

My point exactly.

We all measure the mass of an object we get the same result because it is object. We all state whether we like the object or not and we get different answers because it is subjective.

because it is objective*

You mistake utility for use-value.
We all state whether we like the object or not and some of us will call it a use-value and some of us won't. But it is the same object nevertheless. It doesn't change depending how we call it; that is, depending wether we like it or not. It is objective.

Actually, I think you mistake what "use-value" refers to for the word itself.

But it being perceived as an use-value is subjective and other than ultra autists like you everyone understood that this is what we were talking about.

That's called utility.

Well if you understand "utility" where Marx wrote "use-value" that is a problem, don't you think?