Kliman on Value

jones/bhandari djones at uclink.berkeley.edu
Thu Mar 9 19:53:51 MST 1995


I am happy that Adam has commenced the discussion on Kliman's paper.  Adam
critically discusses the concept of intrinsic value.  I think it is very
important to underline--and it is the only line that Kliman himself
underlines in the paper--that by intrinic value, Kliman does not mean
Ricardo's absolute value.

In fact Kliman is at pains to differentiate the two: "The commodities thus
relate to one another as products, not as mere things. As products, they
are related, not to one another, but to their producers.  Because this
relationship is an alienated one, the labour expended in producing an
article is separated from, forced out of, the worker and takes on an
autonomous existence 'as an "objective" property of the article, i.e., as
its value" (Marx).  Thus, the concept of value as 'intrinsic' to the
commodity expresses a historically specific RELATIONSHIP.  And thus, MARX
VIGOROUSLY REPUDIATED RICARDO'S NOTION OF 'ABSOLUTE VALUE' AND INSISTED
THAT VALUE ITSELF IS RELATIVE, A RELATION.  With the value/exchange-value
distinction, Marx thus transformed the concept of value, from one that
refers to object-object relations (relations of exchange) into one that
refers to commodity PRODUCTION as a subject-object relation (albeit one
expressed as a social relation between things)."

If we are not burden Kliman's theory of value with all the faults of
Ricardo's (to which Adam's critique of naturalism may apply), then perhaps
we should discuss the integrity of Kliman's distinction between intrinisic
and absolute value.

Rakesh


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