Jan 23 2012
What I gathered from reading from Karl Marx is mainly that value is determined by the labor put into it, and the rarity of the object. Humans make something valuable or not based on the perceived effort put into it, not necessarily the actual effort. Regarding the “magnitudes of value” mentioned in the article, I found that rarity is a huge factor in defining something as “valuable”. For example, we value an ounce of gold so much more than a pound of iron, even though you can do more with iron.
Marx states, “the determination of the magnitude of value by labor-time is therefore a secret hidden under the apparent movements in the relative values of commodities”. In short, if the ‘thing’ makes life easier for people, it is worth more to them. It’s worth can completely disregard the labor-time or quantity of the object, in order for its convenience to namely be the ‘value’. People will spend more on a labor intensive item than an easier to make item. For example, people will pay $20 for a knit wool sweater and $3 on a can opener, without thinking about the resources being used.
Something that is valuable is not necessarily useful, therefore, not necessarily a means to riches. This article really makes the reader think about how society defines so much of what we run our lives around, with probably the best example being the economics of “value”.
One Response to “Karl Marx Consumerism”