Law of Value 1: Intro (Addendum)
brendanmcooney | April 27, 2010
This is a brief Addendum to the Introduction to my Law of Value video series. It gives some advice on how to watch these videos, cautioning to think critically about the way we contextualize information online.
Full text at:
Apr 27, 2010
Here’s a brief true-false quiz about Marx’s theory of value. This is to advertise my video series “The Law of Value” which will be appearing, one video at a time, over the next several months.
True False Quiz:
1. Marx’s theory of value holds that any human labor creates value.
2. For Marx, value and price are the same thing.
3. Marx’s theory of value is the same as his predecessor David Ricardo.
4. Marx didn’t believe the forces of supply and demand were relevant to explaining value.
5. Marx’s theory of value is a theory of what workers should get paid.
6. Marx’s theory of value was a theory about how a communist society should be run.
7. Marx didn’t think consumer demand played a role in prices, value or other economic phenomena.
8. Marx’s theory of value doesn’t work in free markets.
9. Marx’s theory of value can’t explain why useless things like mudpies don’t have value.
10. Marx hated babies.
Law of Value 1: Introduction
This is an Introduction to a series of videos about Karl Marx’s Theory of Value.
Q: Karl Marx? I thought he was a has-been.
A: Forget everything you thought you knew. It’s time for some fresh air.
Q: What the hell is value?
A: When you work you are not producing in order to fulfill your own needs. You are producing so that someone can make a profit. Society is structured toward producing economic value, not meeting society’s needs. What happens to a world in which all production is subsumed by value production? Marx wanted to answer this question.
Q: I think of value as being a subjective estimation of the worth of something.
A: That’s not a question, but I’ll answer it anyway. That is a different definition of value. People do place subjective valuations on things in the market. But these subjective estimations are structured by a much larger world of “value creation” in which people are working in order to produce things for market exchange. Marx saw that it was this unique structure of production (production for exchange) that was key to understanding capitalism. The fact that we must ration our labor efficiently to produce the commodities society demands means that it is the productivity of labor which underlies our subjective estimations of value, turning seemingly disparate and atomistic consumer decisions into long-term, objective price movements.
Q: Hasn’t Marx’s theory of value been discredited?
A: No. Only misunderstood.
Q: Why should I care about this?
A: Because we still live in a capitalist society and because Marx is the only thinker to develop a thorough critique of the social relations of a capitalist society and because we are living in a time of ideological crisis and because we can’t have a left without a critique of capitalism….
Q: How do you have time to make all of these videos.
A: I don’t. I’m looking for a video producer to help me finish the series. Any takers?