Blog The new interpretation of the Labour Theory of Value

Fig. 1:
Value is a social relationship that is formed between people and is only effective there.

Fig. 2:
Value is based on needs, weighted needs. But before the exchange there is only the expected value. The potential goods and the potential value equivalent are reference points of a value relationship and thus also of value.
With the exchange, the potential commodity becomes a real one and the potential value equivalent also becomes a real one. In this way, the work done for the commodity is recognized to the extent of the value equivalent as socially useful and at the same time as „value-creating“. The work was socially useful because the result becomes a use value for others through the exchange.

  • Value is a social relationship. This is formed between people and it only works between people, the value specifically between exchange partners.
  • Goods and value equivalents are reference points for a value relationship and thus of value.
  • Values cannot be produced. Only the reference points of value relationships and thus of values can be produced as potential goods. Only the market can show whether value relationships and thus values with regard to these reference points are formed and how they are formed.
  • Value as a social relationship has subjective components because it works between people. However, value must also have an objective part, since it has an effect beyond a single individual, namely on the social level.
    The objective element of value is the common value of the buyer and seller. The subjective elements of value are the individual reflections of this objective value quantity in the exchange partners buyer and seller.
  • Value is assigned to the goods and the value equivalent in the case of exchange.
  • Before the exchange, there can only be an expected value in the form of the offer price, with which the work product is linked and brought onto the market.
  • The producers of potential goods are workers whose rights to Means of subsistence (received in return for their labour) are linked to the potential goods as a claim to an equivalent value.
  • People, machines and, in certain cases, nature are used as labour powers.
    Note: if nature is used as labour, the means of subsistence are in many cases not paid or no replacement is provided.

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3 Kommentare zu „Blog The new interpretation of the Labour Theory of Value

  1. Hi Rainer
    I have many things that are not clear to me in your theory.
    First of all, to say that my understanding is entirely influenced by Das Kapital, but I can’t say for sure that I understand Marx 100% correctly, because it’s very easy to confuse something – it’s a really complicated topic in general. I had started writing a post, but it took so long that I refused to finish it.
    Maybe I’ll have to ask my questions and say what I think not all at once, but somehow gradually, and I don’t even know where to start. But let’s start with this question:
    According to your understanding, the surplus value is given by the buyer to the seller. But that can’t explain where this surplus value comes from. That can’t explain how everyone produces goods and everyone is profitable? What is the source of this profit?

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    1. Hi Sava, thank you very much for your comment.
      If something isn’t clear, it’s up to me: I want to spread a new interpretation of the LTV and consequently I have to (!) Make sure that I am understood. I’ve been working on this since 1980 (with interruptions). At first I couldn’t make myself understood – I was young and assumed – a new idea, that has to meet with enthusiasm. That was a wrong path!
      It got better when I assumed that those I told this to wouldn’t want to know.

      Your idea with the small steps is great! This is how we do it. Then it becomes understandable for others and – if I should have a mistake in my views, it would be easy to locate.

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      1. Now to your question: the surplus value – is it paid for or produced by the buyer; where does it come from.

        The goal of capitalist production is to generate as much surplus value as possible.
        Answer 1: If the capitalist (better his workers – but he is the owner of the results) were to produce surplus value, then he would no longer need to sell his products. He would have surplus value and the goal of production would have been achieved without selling the products.
        Answer 2: Surplus value means that the entrepreneur earns more with the sale(!), not with the production, of his products than the production cost him.
        The production cost him, according to Marx c + v, e.g. $ 100 + $ 50 = $ 150.
        But this is a cost, not a replacement for the cost. For the goal of capitalist production to obtain surplus value, the cost must first be paid by the buyer.
        This process cannot be built into the (initially potential) goods – some of the products made are sold and some are not.
        For the products sold, the entrepreneur will usually (but not necessarily always) be reimbursed for the costs c + v, in this case $ 150.
        This is not enough for surplus value, for surplus value the buyer has to pay more than c + v, in this case more than $ 150.

        * Only the prerequisites for the reimbursement of costs and surplus value payment are produced
        But it is not certain whether the entrepreneur will be able to get the c + v reimbursed. And it is even less certain that he will also receive the expected surplus value. Both the reimbursement of costs and the payment of surplus value cannot be built into the work products.
        Consequently, on the production side of the commodity society, for the entrepreneur there is only the expectation that he will be reimbursed for the costs and also only the expectation that he will receive additional surplus value that appears sufficient to him.
        The buyer has to pay for both.

        * Before the sale, the surplus value is just an expected surplus value
        The entrepreneur can neither calculate exactly what surplus value the buyer will pay, nor can he determine that.
        He can calculate an expected surplus value based on the expenses in connection with his assessment of the product as it will be received on the market (brand name, novelty, design, manageability, etc.), nothing more.

        * The work is the basis for the value, but only via the buyer, not directly
        Accordingly, the workers only produce the conditions for high surplus value payments as well as possible, but no more. The surplus value comes from the buyer, but on the basis of the work done.

        Thus the workers do not directly produce the values and surplus value, but the prerequisites for them.
        The buyers do not produce the surplus value, but they pay it in recognition of the work done. The work primarily has an effect on value creation, but it does not have a direct effect.

        The workload is therefore usually included in the surplus value, but not directly. The buyers first estimate the work results and then make the decisions about the reimbursement of the costs c + v as well as the surplus value payment (whereby the buyers do not consider the individual components of the purchase price, but the totality).

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