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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.
If you guys read Capital Vol. 1, Marx is actually correct about the LTV
He really is. Go read it. The only problem is he defines all of the terms himself so that the logic works.
Marx defines three properties of value: use value, exchange value, and value. However (aside from a bit of clarification about exchange value to illustrate the need for value) it’s really only use value and value that are of importance.
So he defines use value as follows:
The utility of a thing makes it a use value. But this utility is not a thing of air. Being limited by the physical properties of the commodity, it has no existence apart from that commodity. A commodity, such as iron, corn, or a diamond, is therefore, so far as it is a material thing, a use value, something useful. This property of a commodity is independent of the amount of labour required to appropriate its useful qualities.
Ok, so what about value?
Some advice for ancaps
Every “anarcho”-capitalist who hasn’t read any LTV should really do so immediately. If you want to be an anarchist/consider yourself an anarchist then you really need to rethink the subjective theory of value stuff.
Maybe that will help you let go of your emotional/intellectual attachment to the word “capitalism”. Otherwise your going to continue to be marginalized by other anarchists and not understand why (only to be comforted by the libertarian community).
Also try reading something else besides Rothbard. Anything from the 19th century individualist anarchists should be a nice transition for y’all, since some are claimed by ancaps today (like Spooner)…even though they are technically market socialists since their theoretical basis is in classical economics, *not* neo-classical theory, which all comes back to the importance of understanding LTV.