wesley david cecil wcecil at
Fri Oct 28 23:54:10 MDT 1994

Thanks Justin for that post, I agree with all of your points and you picked
the passages to which I was referring in Capital.  My point is that none
of this is very helpful.  Socially necessary labor will, by definition,
vary widely from society to society and the question of just what
means will be open to debate.  The problem of "wants and needs" is, as
marx so aptly pointed out, enmeshed with the fact that wants and needs
are created by society.  So the socially necessary labor to produce a
product to fulfill a need will depend on what a given society defines as
necessary as well as how particualar needs are created within that
society.  The question of use-value in Marx, as generally noted, is a
complete wreck, and exchange value can be, as Marx argues, very much
divorced from a close tie with the amount of labor involved in producing
an item(hence a Van Gogh painting can sell for 10's of Millions of
dollars while a house can sell for a few tens of thousands).  So, while I
find the labor theory of value a great place to explore ideological
questions concerning how soieties organize and measure productivity, it
seems a rather poor place to look for an econometric principle( a
tendency I note in many of the posts concerning LTV).



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