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Halloween and Value

I just returned home from trick or treating with my family and my oldest daughter’s friends (and their families).

The first thing she did when she got to her room was tip her bucket over to soak up her bounty. So I grabbed my youngest daughter’s bucket (which is really my wife’s since the young one is still breast feeding) and dumped out its contents nearby to compare.

Now, like any other toddler, my oldest daughter loves candy. She’s particularly fond of Tootsie Pops, M&Ms, and lollipops. She also seems to have no interest in Almond Joy or Skittles.

So when she saw that her sister’s pile had some of the candy she liked, she of course asked for them. I then explained that she’d have to swap out some of her candy so her sister (or rather, mom) doesn’t lose candy, as that wouldn’t be fair. 

Then, the negotiations began. She quickly came to learn she’d be willing to give up multiple Almond Joys for just one Tootsie Pop. There was also no limit to the number of Skittles bags I could offer for her to give up just a single bag of M&Ms. And she couldn’t care less if I told her that a thousand chocolatiers labored dozens of hours to make just one Almond Joy.

So at three years old, my princess understands something that eludes Marxists everywhere: value is subjective.

Esencją dobrego CRM jest danie klientowi takiego wrażenia w kontakcie z firmą, jakie ma robiąc zakupy w osiedlowym sklepie, gdzie często obsługuje go właściciel, który doskonale zna jego gust, wie, co zwykle kupuje, jaką formę płatności preferuje, jaki sposób pakowania lubi najbardziej. Aby osiągnąć taki poziom obsługi klienta w przedsiębiorstwie, należy brać pod uwagę 3 wskaźniki, nie bez powodu mające w nazwie „customer” czyli klient.

Marginalism has not destroyed the labor theory of value except in the minds of fundamentalist marginalists. The marginalist school of economics that emerged in and after the 1870s in Europe – and nowadays usually called neoclassical economics - was an alternative to and thus a competitor for the labor theory of value. These were and are alternative ways to think about the market relationships - exchange values or prices - between commodities produced for sale. Marginalism focused on desire - how different people felt about/preferred one commodity to another, working and income versus leisure. It explained both the demand for goods and also the supply of labor that produced those goods as outcomes of people’s preferences. Their focus on preferences and demand made them disregard or simply ignore other factors shaping supply, demand and thus prices. In contrast, Marx’s labor theory of value focused on the “toil and trouble” that went into producing everything and that shaped its exchange value or price [it is important to remember, by the way, that the chief expositors of labor theories of value before Marx were Smith and Ricardo]. Marx’s focus on labor made preferences and demand secondary, although Marx explicitly kept them in the picture. To say that marginalism has destroyed Marx’s labor theory of value is a little like saying that knives and forks destroyed chopsticks as ways of eating. It is far better to recognize that these are two different, alternative ways to eat; they are two different ways to experience eating. Marginalism and Marx’s labor theory of value are different ways to think about economies; they contribute to different ways to act inside those economies and different ways to identify and solve those societies’ problems. What matters are their differences and the social consequences of those differences. A debate over which manner of eating is “right” or “correct” – chopsticks or knife and fork – would strike most of us as absurd; the same applies to a debate over whether marginalism or the labor theory of value is “correct.” When advocates of one theory claim it has “disproved” or “destroyed” another, that is just a ploy to dissuade their audiences from inquiring about how the other works, what analyses it produces and what conclusions it reaches.
—  R. D. Wolff, Has neoclassical economics – sometimes called marginalism – destroyed the labor theory of value?

The terms of social compact between these two estates of men may be summed up in a few words: “You have need of me, because I am rich and you are poor. We will therefore come to an agreement. I will permit you to have the honour of serving me, on condition that you bestow on me that little you have left, in return for the pains I shall take to command you.”

— Jean-Jacques Rousseau, The Social Contract and Discourses