Value

Chris Burford cburford at gn.apc.org
Tue Jan 10 01:13:11 MST 1995


                      VALUE

I like Rakesh Bhandari's persistence (as others) in ensuring a
theme is heard and I was excited by the last posting which brought
together the words "value" and "dynamic". But I have a difficulty.

I find my reaction to contributions is often stimulation, but
simultaneously a shade of frustration. Why? It is more than a joke
that we are divided by a common language. I guess that even when we
are trying to be most theoretical, words are codes or signals, which
we hope will immediately produce a whole matrix of associations in the
mind of the listener.

Try as I have, feverishly to rotate my matrices, I have not yet shaken
hands with Rakesh's interesting posting. My associations with "dynamic"
especially with allusions to modern scientific ideas, are to
dynamical systems theories including chaos theory and complexity theory.
My associations with value are certainly with Marx but how? I want to be
able to zoom up and down the fractal scale of comparably complex detail
from the 3 trillion dollars of abstract value a day that slosh around
the terminals of the worlds computerised trading system, following
their own internal dynamic, sometimes chaotically; to Ralph and his
friendly food seller, who, at the same time as they swap use and exchange
value for the sandwich, somehow value each other, trying
sympathetically to guess in a gesture or a word what may be foremost in
the other's vast mental matrix, and what may lie in the background of
despair or hope.

Although I value (that word again) the stability that this Marxism list
gets from having an economic base in the academic world, I wonder if for me
sometimes the contributions tend to be too often in the middle of the scale
at a level of socio-cultural generalised abstraction.

This posting is therefore partly a request to all for more attention to the
extremes of the scale in specific detail, (eg how exactly is the
International Monetary Fund shifting in its handling of economic value, how
are the transnationals succeeding in clearing the playing field for their
global activities, how is the seller on the streets of Johannesburg
patiently holding 4 small pieces of root vegetable on a plate,
going to feed her children?

And a request to Rakesh to say I would value if she/he? could easily
forward to me a copy of the passage from Korsch on the law of value which
emphasized dynamics, which I missed, perhaps before I started to subscribe.
Many thanks.



Chris Burford

Community Psychiatrist, specialising in schizophrenia, London.
Member of the Forum for Marxism, Philosophy and Science and
The Southern Africa Economic Research Unit.

                                                    "Only connect..."



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