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Chapter 1: The Exchange
Chapter 1: The Exchange
(1) the category of the Exchange
(2) the forms of the Exchange
(3) use value and exchange value
(4) to the exchange value
(5) of the exchangeable value
(1) the category of the Exchange
The human being, reminds us of Aristotle, is a being of needs. It differs from
the animal by the fact that it produces, mainly, that it needs. These needs are
are, generally, at two levels: they are of a material nature and order
cultural. It is not to establish here a clear separation between a dimension and
the other. In reality there is more interaction, because the material is cultural and the
cultural tends to its own objectification.
However this difference allows us to highlight the fact that the human being is
produce not only, as you know, material goods, it also produces a
abstractions, as repositories. With regard to material production, it
is important to note that the human being on appropriate simply the
nature, it tends to turn. Vintage tends to become cooked. But this transformation
is it even a process of culturalization, because production is carried out at the breast
a community that has its own acquis in terms of ownership,
as in the transformation of things. This achievement is what we
call a tradition.
It is therefore within the community and within its temporality as the
process of production and reproduction occurs. But in this activity we
have case, in General, to the simple relationship between the production and the
needs. This regardless of the fact that the production and needs are
culturally conditioned. More specifically, by the global acquis a
community, in relations within itself and in relation to his world and
in the world as such.
Products to meet the needs – organic and cultural – are what
that we call goods or values. The human being is thus a producer
of values. From these values, the needs are differentiated. So that more
property is necessary, most it is estimated: plus it has value for the subject of the need.
The value is so conditioned in the universe of the choseite, by the scarcity and
abundance. Specifically the value is in inverse ratio to the abundance and in
direct relation to the scarcity. What is rare is expensive said Aristotle. This means
-Depending on the level of the conceptuality in which we find ourselves – what is
rare is highly appreciated, that desirable because.
The scarcity and abundance which condition the value are the result: either of the
nature, the level of activity of the social community. The very purpose of
humans, in relation to its activity, is to overcome the
the natural scarcity conditions. Having said that it is to satisfy the needs that
the production activity is carried out. But these needs are not only of the order
the singularities, they are also family and community. -The concept of
Community refers here both to the immediate sphere to the General sphere
humans. So the subject of needs may be as well at the level
singular and particular, and at the universal level. We are thus talking about community
family clan, tribal, social, national, and nations.
What sustains the human community, whatever their level, it is the need
that we have of each other. This need is, so to speak, the power
agglutinating which ensures the existence of communities. But this need is
essentially need relations: Exchange reports. Aristotle had reported to
this connection that the human being is not an animal intended to live in solitude,
but to live in the community. For this reason, he said, the Exchange is consubstantial
life in the community. In other words, there cannot be social without
According to its anthropological dimension, the category of the Exchange covers all the
relationships between human beings human. Therefore, there is the Exchange at the level of
love, and friendship. And love and friendship are the goods, therefore what it be
human needs by its very nature. That said, the Exchange which interests us here
in essence, is the one that lies at the level of the choseite. Therefore, goods
products or mediated by human labour.
The Exchange at the level of the choseite is the concrete manifestation of the
material reproduction of the communities. Its importance in the life of
communities explains the fact that all social formations tried to adjust
its manifestation. It is, more specifically, to ensure proportionality in
the Exchange, to safeguard the community existence. The general rule is
between equal exchange is equal, while between unequal exchange is unequal.
Equality referred to can only be a proportional equality. It is
is, therefore, at the level of the value. Because purely equal Exchange cannot
exist between dissimilar things. However, it is essentially at this level that is
carries out the Exchange.
The unequal exchange is one that is mediated by the social hierarchy. In
the universe of the community the unequal exchange occurs between communities
simple and the upper unit * 25. It occurs also in a manner more consistent with the
principles, through the gift and the offering. By this report, different levels
authorities exchanged in a relationship of inequality.
In the universe of the company we are witnessing a phenomenon of individuation
generalized. Citizens are the subjects of the State. Or the State as principal holder of
community values, returned to exchange with citizens report to constitute and redistribute the public thing. In this relationship we are dealing with an unequal exchange. The logic of this relationship, the State is supposed to give more than what it receives * 26. When this logic is reversed, we are dealing with a perverted system and perverting, because non-compliance with the principles.
The Exchange is, as we have just seen, consubstantial with life in
community, but to make it viable it is necessary that it conforms to the
principles. These principles are the product of the logic of the values. They are as
such conditioned by intuition or rational perception of what is
comply with the just. -Curiously classics like Ricardo and Malthus have
talked about principles of the economy, but they did not sufficiently aware of
the axiological burden of this category. Specifically, the fact that amongst the
values produced by human beings, there is not that those that are intended for
needs of consumption, well being and ostentation, also that
normative production is it even listed in the General production of
This in such a way that the values of universal order take precedence over values
particular order. As well as the bounding values take precedence in relation to the
immediate values. Certainly, the human being has need of bread; but it is very
important to understand that this production is achieved within a given order. –
We call this order either community or social * 27.
25. we use this concept in the sense that Marx gave him: the State in large
26. It provides legal certainty and receives money through levies
* 27 of this point of view, we maintain the essential difference that introduced Tönnies between community and company.
The community is one that is not based on individuality, but rather on the simple communities. The social order, on the other hand, is one that is based on a level more or less accomplished of individualism.
Production and reproduction material as they occur at the breast
a normative production given. This normative production is in the case of
economy the objective law. This juridical status is in turn conditioned by a
superior legitimacy which is ultimately the rational axiology. In addition
This axiological dimension consists of universal order, setting values
benchmarks and principles. This set of levels is what we call the
reign of the values. More specifically, this by – what humans meets its needs.
So the economy – "oikos" and "nomos" – contains the right as
timing-critical moment, and beyond the juridical status, the reign of the principles. The right is a
order established, while the principles are assumptions. There are principles which
correspond to the law itself, as there is, which correspond to
the economy. Thus, this form of production and reproduction material which is
manifest in an individual world.
If we introduce this difference at the level of production and the
material reproduction, it is to remind the community form is realized
within a normativity produced by family ethics. However the economy is
realizes within a normativity produced by a more or less accomplished level
the figure of individuality. We are talking about in the first case of moral rules and
in the second case of legal norms.
From this explanation it appears more clearly the fact: firstly,.
It is highly problematic to speak of primitive economy, for example,
therefore of the economy as a whole where there is "oikos", nor "nomos". and
Secondly, that physical activity is necessarily framed by the
normativity and conditioned by principles.
Physical activity is a practice and implies, for its part, knowledge
more or less important. Each level of physical activity presupposes, by
Thus, a level of data knowledge. So the farmer must
know the techniques of its domain, which as we know, are multiple and
varied. It is same for the doctor or architect. This need of
knowledge is also infinitely simpler activities, such as the
Sweeper, or of a worker who works in a string.
These activities fall within the field of the economy, but are not of
the economy itself. Economy relates essentially to act from
Exchange and presupposes individualized topics. By the time of its formation, in the
Greek world, the economy had as topic home. This focus involves: the head of
family, his wife, his unmarried sons or married, as well as slaves and children
slaves. The head of the family was the sole subject of contract * 28. So, in the final
instance the sole subject of the Exchange, because only subject of law. The "homo".
economicus"thus presupposes the homo juridicus.
Now, with the development of the individualistic phenomenon and so that
the law, we are dealing with two forms of subject: individuality and the person
morality. Reports of exchange between these subjects are as we have from the
report, the subject of the economy. But this relational set presupposes of
principles and objective in categories which are the results of this system of
needs * 29.
28. it should be recalled in this connection that this subject of law was in principle subject to the city, the citizen. The other members of the family were not right, they only had duties to the Lord of the House. That means that they had as much right as slaves and pets.
29. by this concept, Hegel expresses the simple fact that any economic system is ultimately an order in which a social community meets its needs. In this regard, as we know, there are systems that emphasize the needs of those who govern, while there are others who intend to satisfy well being general.
The development of trade leads to the international market. Therefore, in the
domination of this set on specific social communities. We have
There, therefore, dealing with a whole which presupposes an institutional order and where
the subjects are ultimately States. Which are, according to the principles of
the institutional order affecting its existence in equality report. So
beyond the logic of exchange within social communities, lies the
report of the international exchange. Within this totality, alone is lawful and viable
the Exchange according to the principles of proportional equality. -From this point of view, it is
important to understand that the judgment pertaining to sustainability, or non-
viability of a given order corresponds to its axiological requirement unless it is
expressed from the principles.
Economic theory without knowledge of the principles that should
condition its existence, is limited by the market mechanisms.
So, by the simple movement of values within an order given, which tends to
be considered as immutable, given once and for all. Missing from
in this perception the awareness of the fact that normative order is even a
product of the human, sometimes as a traditional practice, as
product of the instituent reason.
(2) the forms of the Exchange
Generally speaking, there are two forms of Exchange: the simple exchange and
the expanded Exchange. The simple Exchange is the direct report's firmly against. We
use also, in this context, the term of barter. The expanded Exchange is, on the other hand, that
which is realized through the currency.
The simple Exchange is one that manifests itself within the community
simple. The reign of the community is one in which the principle of
l' individuation does not yet exist. The production for the Exchange is not the goal
producer activity. The purpose of this activity is the satisfaction of the needs of the
family. Specifically, the goods are designed to meet the needs
immediate producers and their families. It is the surplus which traded to,
the principle of proportional equality. Adult members of the
simple community, brothers and relatives, were on an equal footing.
So that between equal exchange could be that proportional. This equality
proportional in the order of the Exchange, was guaranteed by custom: by the
In the reign of the community there is the existence of a repository. Who is
very often a consumer good current, such as cereals, salt, etc., or
goods intended for personal adornment such as shells, and feathers, etc. It is
issue to confuse this repository with the actual currency. It don't
This is not a currency itself, because this repository is not a way
terms of trade. However, it allows to know the terms of the Exchange, in the
case of assets including the quantitative relationship is not settled by traditional practice.
This repository is therefore, a measuring instrument to evaluate the property.
But generally the practice of barter does not include the role of the Middle
terms of trade. This has not excluded, however, the fact that this repository could
play, in a marginal way, a monetary role. In urban centers of
community structures, it has observed the existence of this function. With
the expansion of trade is a necessity of a medium-term exchange and
an instrument of movement of goods. This phenomenon will occur
specifically, with the appearance of the city.
The repository of community structures, like the currency, are the
demonstration of the need for a common measure. The essential difference being
the first, is the expression of this measure in a world where the production
the Exchange is not a dominant dimension. On the other hand, in the social universe,.
where production for Exchange is a dominant phenomenon, the existence of a
measurement guaranteed by the power appears as a necessity. This
in the reign of the simple community, said the exchange occurs mainly under
the form of barter. Barter is thus the expression of proportionality in the Exchange,
because there is a relationship between equals. It is important to take into account the fact that
This simplicity in the Exchange is possible because on the one hand, the character
limited exchange, and on the other, because the needs are not diversified. En
effect, in the reign of the simple community, needs are similar.
But this narrowness of the Exchange and the needs does not exclude as we
pointed out, the need for some regulation in the Exchange. Everyone tends, in
effect to sur-apprécier what he appartient30 and devalue what belongs to the
other. The proportionality in the Exchange can only be guaranteed by the mere
report of subjectivities. A level of upregulation is necessary for
precisely to overcome the arbitrary side of the relationship between the subjectivities. This
Regulation as we have seen is given, in the reign of the community, by
The proportional Exchange is not the only form of Exchange, in
Community universe. The Exchange may be also uneven. But this form of
the Exchange does not occur between equals, it is rather the result of the ratio between
unequal. This inequality is the result of the community order. In any case, it
is not a product of nature.
* 30 to cause precisely either the subjective, narcissism and selfishness or regular investment.
So when the Exchange is mediated by the hierarchical relationship, the
principle of inequality is necessary. But this inequality is made in such a way, that what
is given by the powerful has always value more than what comes from the lower level. In other words, the offering has by virtue of its function a
less than the gift value. The value here is not an objective determination, it
is rather the result of the reporting relationship.
The hierarchical function allows to safeguard the principle of justice
in the Exchange. Indeed, according to this principle, the Exchange must comply with equality
proportional. In the case of inequality, it is necessary that the mighty – one that
has access to more than goods – gives more than the weak. Otherwise is precisely what
which is not consistent with the reasonable proportion, and would, therefore, be unfair. More
precisely the exchange among equals would be uneven and unequal Exchange
would be equal, see disproportionate to the extent that the powerful would give less than the
low. In these conditions, as can easily be understood, we have
case on a perverted agenda and perverting: unable to guarantee the proportion
reasonable. Speaking of these categories, Aristotle emphasizes that just
is this dimension that is able to promote and maintain life in
community. This dimension the reasonable proportion that is between
Equal Exchange must be equal and unequal between unequal. But, the inequality is
issue must always occur in the Exchange so that the powerful must
give more than the weak.
Beyond the problem of the 'logos' of categories, it is important to also
account the fact that unequal exchange role within the community of
first order. It is indeed through the gift and the offering that property
tend to circulate within the community estates. Thus, property
lacking in certain localities or regions succeed, specifically, by
This form of ritualized Exchange. Ethnology tells us, in this regard, that
whenever a lower authority (the Chief of a village, or a community
farm) was visiting to a higher authority, she offered her own assets to its
locality. On the other hand, this authority could receive against part of his gift, a
offering coming from one region other than that where established authority
superior. So many goods were there when they were rare. The
at this level, salt is a very significant example.
That said, these forms of Exchange also exist within the social universe. A
generally the equal exchange is that which takes place within civil society,
While unequal exchange is one that relates to the constitution and to the
redistribution of the public good. The social universe is the reign of individuality,
more or less done. We are dealing here with a process that goes from
individualism as a marginal phenomenon, to individualism as
accomplished dimension. This process is the objectification of the substance
Ethics of human beings, so the realization of a community of equals. By
Therefore, the completion of "isonomia" and "isocratia".
With regard to the formation of the individualistic universe, it is important to
understand that this world involves the completion of a certain level of equality between
members of civil society. The minimum here is legal equality, for which
East of the area of the law relating to contracts. Individuality in its form
first is located on the same footing as any other with respect of
principle of property, contract, the testament and the Exchange in general. This
individuality requires therefore, in General, the same capacity
legal in these areas.
This level of individuality thus allows the realization of the proportional Exchange.
But, given the importance of trade and the diversification of needs to the
Breast of the social universe, it is necessary to find a common measure, or
rather, to Institute it. This common measure, reminds us of Aristotle, is called in
Greek "nomisma", of "nomos" law. So, to the point of departure of the social universe there is the principle of formal equality of the subjects of the Exchange and then the fact of the existence of a common measure.
All of these conditions, is not natural. That is why instituent
that creates the conditions for equal exchange, as among equals the Exchange can only be that
proportional. It is noted that the simple Community equality is
not the result of an institution, but the product of nature. The
the Exchange topics there are, indeed, brothers, cousins. In any case, relatives
However, as can be easily understood, this proximity in links
family cannot exist in a larger community as the city. TO
strictly speaking the city, or the 'polis' is the result of horizontal mobility.
Specifically, the internal migration within a given culture. Done that
human beings from different regions – the métèques ("meta oikos"): those whose
homes are in one elsewhere more or less remote-, settle in a
same space: the city. This influx creates not only an extraneation more
more important within the city, but also the fact that the needs are more
more differentiated. So in contrast to the simple community, where the
needs are similar, we deal in the case of the city with needs of
more and more differentiated. This tends to produce a growing multiplicity
goods to meet those needs. In those circumstances, as it can easily
understand it, barter turns out be particularly inadequate. There the need
to establish a common measure capable of measuring the more differentiated goods,
and therefore, likely to ensure proportionality in the Exchange. The
currency allows to know the prices of goods and services * 31 and so to realize exchanges under the principle of proportional equality. In addition, the
trading system produces a series of objective mechanisms to ensure
* 31-strictly speaking, the concept of goods and services is a redundancy, because services correspond to needs and are, by the same property.
Indeed, first of all, it is the fact that the price is a category objective breast
a market given. This objectivity is, the result of the ratio between the
needs of a social community and the actual production able to satisfy.
In addition, within a given price there is always the opportunity to haggle,
especially in the traditional world. Each is thus driven by self-interest,
to seek the best quality/price ratio. This search returned also in the
trade of existence; which does not only consist in practice of
the Exchange itself, but also of obtaining information concerning the
best value for money. The satisfaction of the needs and the means most
adequate to satisfy, thus creates a multiplicity of relations which is the
Foundation of social life. Finally, there is as a regulatory mechanism, the juridical status
She even, as a commodity can have a defect that can not be detectable
at first glance. In other words, the buyer may well be a hoax of
the part of the seller. In this case, the buyer can always initiate a trial against the
seller. The role of the judge being that to restore equality in these conditions,
proportional, see to penalize the vendor for have – when bad faith
can be proven – deceived his client. Thus violating the principle of proportionality
in the Exchange. which, as we have pointed out, maintains and guarantees the life
Compared to this issue, it seems essential to understand that the
principle of proportionality in the interchange is not a phenomenon that goes without saying
in society, as it is the case in the community. The narrowness of the goods
family in a world where the family is the support even of existence, is, in
the reign of the community, a substantial guarantee for the safeguarding of this principle. In the case of the social universe, it is the institutional order to maintain and
to guarantee this principle. In other words, in the reign of the community is the
domestic morality which guarantees in the first instance the safeguarding of this principle,
While in the social universe this warranty depends on its established agenda. The
ethical dimension arrives here in last instance.
That said for what is unequal trade as we have pointed out, it
occurs essentially within the social, in the report to the public thing.
More specifically, in the constitution and the distribution of this "res publica". -The
ritual form of unequal trade such as we find in the reign of the
community, remains in an extremely marginal way in the social universe.
More accurately, this increase in the margins is in direct relationship to the
level of individuation. So this practice plays no significant role
in the social universe. Indeed, corporations, or their residues, can be of
offerings to the person that controls the power – the King or President of the
Republic-, and receive in Exchange for the gifts, but these exchanges do not play a
significant role in the mechanisms of social regulation.
On the other hand, in the report between members of civil society and the thing
public, we are dealing with an unequal exchange which plays a leading role.
Each contributes according to its means to the formation of the public good and receives in
Exchange of General Security and the administration of justice, and a
specifically, honors, functions and public aid. Which values
are, in principle, more important than those which are part of the contribution
personal. The reasonable proportion is conditioned, as regards the
proper redistribution, by the criteria of needs and capabilities. It is in
function of the needs that public aid should be granted. The same way that it is based on the ability to contribute to the well being of the
social community that the State chooses his servants * 32.
It is noted that in the community world, this form of Exchange
also covered the upper unit relate to particular communities.
The upper unit in particular and it communities made of
assistance in case of need. This Exchange was, however unbalanced due to the
logic castifié upper unit. So it is in and by the gift and the offering that
the unequal exchange expresses its conformity with the principles logic. The principle of the
distributive justice precisely expresses this need within the social universe.
(3) use value and exchange value
We have just pointed out: the human being is a producer of values. It
production of goods compared to the needs. But this production is not
only for the complacency of the producer; She also directed to
the needs of others. Where otherness is that of close relatives
the Exchange is, consideration, goods which are not strictly
materials, such as affection and feelings. On the other hand, when the otherness is a being
indifferent, the Exchange involves a substantive report.
* 32. as is well known, the English language uses the term of "civil use" to call the
With regard to production, it is important to take account of the fact
that this activity is carried out within a community and is conditioned by it.
Smith had already reported that the purpose of production is consumption. En
other words that any production tends to satisfy needs. Which should be the
noted, are conditioned by life in community. Therefore, be
human needs meet. but both that be community or social
the needs are conditioned by the community. -We mean by
community here, as well the community in the strict sense of the term that the
social community. Of more, with the development of trade and
the increase of Exchange reports, the international community will play a
role increasingly important.
That being said, it is very important to understand that the production of values
use and Exchange is unique to all human together. The hermit product
only the values use, because in his loneliness there nobody else with whom
Exchange. It is the same for Robinson Crusoe on his island, some has been its
sociological determination, or even the presence of Friday. Apart from these lives
abstract, all life in the community involves both production destined for
own final consumption (the singularity and his family), the Exchange. -We we
refer here specifically to the production that occurs within communities
simple, such as that which occurs within the universe of the company.
Therefore, any human set produces values of use and
Exchange values. In other words, this double character of production is
not clean in the reign of the company, as the support Marxism. We have
case here in a demonstration of the law of opposites. More specifically, from this
basic report without which the collective existence is not possible. The
essential difference from this fundamental relationship – use value.
Exchange-value, will eventuate in the fact that the production of use values is
dominant in the reign of the community, while the production of values
Exchange is dominating at the level of the company.
Indeed, in the reign of the community we are dealing with a system of
production where the value in use is the essential purpose of the activity productive elle35
even. This means, therefore, that Exchange values are marginal
in this system. In General, we have within the system
community, two forms of reproduction material: on the one hand that is
insured by the extended family, and from that which is provided by the family
monogamous. In the first case we are dealing with the model of the village
African, in the second we refer to the inca model. -It is noted, in
this connection, we find these two forms of reproduction as well at the breast of
clan systems, as well as inside the large structures highly
centralized. Indeed, in the case of the clan systems the form of reproduction
hardware monogamous, for what is work of the Earth, existed in the case
Indians of the Amazon rainforest and at the Indian pueblos of America of
North. This said, everything indicates that the family system expanded, as the subject of the
material reproduction, has been a phenomenon in structures
This being reported, it is essential to understand that the Exchange, in the form of
barter, was most important in monogamous systems in the systems
extended families. Inside these structures, each family cultivated in the
plot of land allocated it, generally the same things and
handmade produced the same types of goods, so that the production of
Exchange values could not be the main purpose of the activity. Breast
simple communities, this activity could be only marginal when.
as we have pointed out, the subject of reproduction was the family
Inside the large community structures, it is also noted
that the relationship between use value and exchange value was not manifested,
in its different levels, in the same way. Indeed, it was found that the
Exchange value was particularly marginal at the level of the communities
simple; However this form of value tends to manifest itself as a category
important at the level of urban centres and especially between large
In these structures, urban centres were places of religious power.
Therefore, power as such. On the sidelines of this power will begin to be
demonstrate the market form a not yet accomplished. Indeed centres
urban will become commercial spaces, in the strict sense of the term, with
the appearance of the city: from the 'polis '. The fact is that the ethnologists have found in
margin of these spaces, the rituals of power, the emergence of a market nonencore
accomplished. So the repository there tended to become a medium-term of
the Exchange. But it is at the level of the long distance market – as reported
Aristotle * 33 – the production of values of Exchange has fulfilled its dominance.
Therefore, at the level of this form of Exchange as the market and the first
forms of the currency have begun to emerge. -Very often this activity, the
long distance trade, was practiced by small communities living in
margin of the great empires. This was the case of the Phoenicians and more
to cities such as Sidon, Tire and Almina. This activity could also be
the field of some very closed castes, such as the pochteca among the Aztecs
and, to a lesser extent, of Banias in the Indian subcontinent. -Can be
See also the importance of the market in long distance, in Europe
West, at the time of the formation of the so-called bourgeois civilization. More
specifically, between the 11th century and the beginning of the hundred years war: with the
* 33 it should be noted that this thesis was taken over by theorists such as K.Polanyi and F. Braudel.
It is, in any case, with the consolidation of the city than the production for
the Exchange will become a phenomenon of the first order. It is important to
understand that this phenomenon involves the manifestation of individualism. We
are dealing here with a sociological category that is going to be, because of its historicity, any
first marginal to achieve its highest generalization in the modern era.
However, within the system of the enlarged exchange we see the existence
of a basic structure: each independent household ("ikos") Exchange with the
others through normativity ("nomos"). In other words, the subjects of
the Exchange come into relationship within a normative order.
Inside of such a system, we are witnessing a process of marginalization
the production of use values. This production is however still present
even in a world like ours. It is as well as, more generally, to the
within our society, we continue to make us our meals and make indoors
our focus of trading activities. Obviously, more a company is
rich more its members are able to pay of the activities, in the
contrary conditions, they are obliged to do by themselves.
It appears therefore, that the report of the use and values values
Exchange is always present in social life. But these categories are not
data in advance. Therefore, these values are sometimes powerful, sometimes
Act. In some cases we see a transition from one movement to
the other, more or less limited in time.
To explain these categories the power and the Act, compared with goods,
We must appeal to some examples. Suppose the case of the peasant with his
chicken coop. Our character is a producer of chickens. You can imagine,
for example, what it produces two kinds of hens: one intended to its
consumption and that of his family, while others are intended for sale.
Our character product thus use values and exchange values.
But in reality these categories are only in power. Because it may
that a disease appears in the henhouse. In this case, we say that the
property in question remained of simple power values. Inside of this
example of a producer of chickens, there may be other cases of figure. Including
the passage from one category to the other. This is an intended hen to the
its producer consumption can be sold. The opposite case can also
occur. For example, the fact that the producer is obliged to consume one
more or less important part of its production, because it is unable to dispose
on the market. In addition, as we know, the overproduction can lead to the
destruction of property. Indeed, in such a situation, it is less costly for the
goods-producers, including inanimate, destroy the products to try
keep pending a reversal of trend.
For durable goods we see the passage of a category of
values to another. So a gem can be use value after being
Exchange, to subsequently exchange value value and so on. This
said, it is clear, as reported by Aristotle that the goods are produced with a view to
needs and not for the Exchange. The category of the Exchange, and
especially the necessary social mediation, is a determination socially
conditioned. In other words the purpose of an asset is the satisfaction of needs,
and the Exchange is mediation, which can be used for such purpose. But, the
mediation can not be, because of its role, a final stage; experience shows
clearly: a property may not linger in its mediation without losing its value.
In other words, a property cannot remain indefinitely in the merchant, without
depreciate significantly. For this reason, we say that the goods are
No products for the Exchange, but to be eaten. Indeed it is Aristotle the first theorist, according to our knowledge, to have made the difference. According to him, in fact, "each of the things that we own is likely two different purposes: one as the other.
belong to the thing as such, but do belong to it as not
such in the same way. One is the own use of the thing and the other is abroad
his own use. For example, a shoe has two purposes: one is to the
wear and the other to make it an object of Exchange. one and the other are the modes
use of the shoe, because even one who exchanges a shoe with a
buyer who needs, currency or food, uses the
shoe as a shoe, but it is not however the own use,
because it is not for the Exchange that the shoe was made"* 34.
Therefore in respect of their use that the goods are made. But that does not
Marx believed him say that the Exchange be perverse as category. In his
effectiveness, the category of the exchange value is a social mediation, because
the Exchange is consubstantial to life in community.
It is noted in this regard that, following the passage we have just quoted,
Aristotle stresses the fact that "the Faculty Exchange", "a principle and its origin.
in the natural order, in that men have some things in too large
"quantity and others enough" * 35. The Shoemaker for example has a
shoes, or can have, but all other assets are missing. It is for
this reason that the cobbler's best interest to achieve the results of its activity, because
just so happens to have access to goods that lacks it and he
34. the policy, I.9.
The need that we have each other is good that unites us and which
conditions in turn the need that we have an order consistent with the requirements
Why practice. So, from this point of view, an order not only capable
to ensure equality and proportionality in the Exchange, but to promote.
Also note that it is the development of the Exchange that leads to the
specialization in work, as well as increasing the efficiency of the currency.
(4) to the exchange value
The query on the value of exchange of goods dominated, as it
know, economic thought from Ricardo. The obsessive form that this
Mark has taken – because that considered the focal point of the theory
-economic, gave rise not only to sarcastic judgements by report
in it, but also to its marginalization in the present era. So Keynes has
have said that the theory of the value of Ricardo has dominated economic thought
modern in the same way that the Inquisition had dominated the Spanish golden century.
Meanwhile Karl Popper considers that the mark on the value is purely
metaphysics, in the negative sense of the word.
We have shown the importance of this question on the value so far.
We are not, however, left by Ricardo or Marx, but rather of Aristotle.
For the Greek philosopher, indeed, the human being is a producer of values, because
It is a being of needs. The value is not, therefore, a class abstract, but
well a category specific, insofar as goods (values) are with
what human being meets its needs. The values are thus products of
human activity and have as objective the satisfaction of its needs. This is done by
Therefore, as we have already pointed out, that most human beings is in need of
something more this thing has value for him. In the strict sense of the term, the subject of these needs is the concrete singularity, but the shape of its needs is
always mediated by social community is the product, and by the
Group of which it is registered.
The goods by themselves have a value that corresponds precisely to these
socially determined needs. It therefore arises whether that is what
determines the value of the property? The most consistent with the logical response to this
problematic is to say: that conditioning it is none other than that of
the importance of the needs. But in reality the needs, which it is made, are
not the needs of the idea of the thing, but the thing itself. So
These needs, in their true size refer to the measurable existence of property
which is discussed.
Given in their quantifiable dimension requirements precisely, what
We call an application. This request does not preclude generally one
the amount given, cannot be changed, as in the case of objets d'art. We
have rather dealing with a production capacity which is located in conditions
immediate, to offer much more or less of the property in question. It is
the reason we say firstly, that the exchange value is realized in
and by the Exchange, but on the other it is conditioned by the report between supply
With regard to the process of Exchange, or traffic, it must be said that he
is packaged in these different times, by the market in which it occurs.
We thus have: either to national markets which are ordained a
more or less differently, or in the international market.
The law of supply and demand determines the value of the goods, as
Malthus, pointed out according to their opposite reason. This means, therefore, that the
value is in direct relation to the importance of demand and inversely to the importance of the offer. The regulator encompassing is thus an order relation
quantitative. Indeed, in a given market there may be an application of both
goods over an offer of a given amount of these same goods. In la
reality these data are of virtualities, and are effective only once that the
process is completed. At the base we have on each side of the powers in
power. Specifically, on the supply side we have a
quantity of stored goods or in circulation, a more or less productive capacity
important. On the demand side we have, on the other hand, a power
purchase which may be more or less available for the acquisition of a particular property.
So in the phenomenon of exchange value, should be taken
account not only of the Act which determines the, but also the conditions of its
realization. There is, indeed, on the one hand, the opposition needs and capacity for
satisfy them, and on the other, different times which allow the achievement of this
process. The law of supply and demand is, so to speak, the mechanism
regulator, while the process is its manifestation
Ricardo and Marx perceived, meanwhile, the achievement of the value in a manner
different. For them, in fact, the value of the goods is determined by time
socially necessary for their production work. It should be recalled that the
concept of socially was introduced by Marx. Ricardo speaks of time
required for the production. It may, however, from the concept of work in
Ricardo, think that time discussed, is the one imposed by the
international competition. So the definition of Marx is narrower than
that of Ricardo. Indeed, the author of the Capital takes account of time
socially necessary, so that which is conditioned by the competition indoors
a company given.
Whatever it is, it is clear that for the theorists of the work value, time
socially necessary for the production.36 is the basis for the value. In other
terms, this crystallized time constitutes the substance of value. The actual price is,
Meanwhile, according to these theorists, the result of the impact of supply and demand
on the value itself. So the prize rotates around the value: sometimes it is
at the top, sometimes it is below.
From this theory must be two consequences that Marxism has
always highlighted: firstly, that the production is the only source of the
value, and secondly that productive work is the one who created the value. From
so that from the theory of labour value, in a sense strictest, the
intermediaries – transport, distribution, marketing, advertising and the
sale, to take only the essential moments – add no value. About
This not to mention the VAT in certain products involved as we know,
significantly to the final price.
Thus, the famous theorist of the value – work does not account of part
essential of the added-value, in the value formation. In reality we know
what these factors can multiply by repeatedly participating determinations
production: CC + CV + PV, to use the Marxist formula. Take the case
gasoline in France. We know that the only tax – the TIPP37 participates for more of
80% of the final price of this product…
* 36 in what follows we take the Marxist version to avoid confusion.
We are, also, very often dealing with goods including the bulk of the Suprema
can be located on the side of the transport or sale, or even its
packaging. In any case, the reality is full of examples that show us
precisely as the value of production is only a simple part of the final price. The value given by the production is, in General, vice versa
proportional to the expansion of the market. In our time, for example, where the
international market is so important, it is obvious that the value given by the
production is only part becoming more marginalized in the final price.
It is not difficult, indeed, to note that the market, in its dimension
concrete, does not work according to the logic of the work-value theory. This non-compliance is not, it must be stressed, a consequence of the development of
market. Admittedly, this distance is increased with this development. But in any
of cause, it is problematic to think that such a theory could be valid in
a structure market. Arguably, the rigour that this theory can be
valid for a small community living in closed circuit and where producers
independent are neighboring each other. In such a reality,
one may think that since intermediaries are not required, the Exchange is
would the principle of necessary working time in the
community in question. Thus, if the production of rabbit takes twice over
time that the hens, it is not absurd to think that the Exchange could be
do report conditioned by working time, that is to say two hens
for a rabbit.
In this case would be in a case more or less similar to that of
hunters, referred to Adam Smith in the wealth of the Nations38. However, the problem
is that this community of independent producers, as well as the company
hunters referred to by Smith, are of simple abstractions that have nothing to do
with the market reality, whatever its manifestation. In this reality which
determines the value that is the relationship between the availability of the goods and the solvent needs, or as said John Locke39: the relationship between vendors and the
37. the tax internal to petroleum products.
38 book I, Chapter 6.
Because regardless of this working time there is the fact that a producer -.
in this small community of independent producers, we come from
assume – can produce more of what is requested, in which case the Exchange may not
you do not report presupposed by this theory. Besides this is not because
that something crystallizes a working time given that it will be sold by its
producer, according to this measure. Indeed, we must be aware that if that were the case the
overproduction and his seizures will have no reason to be.
From what we have just said and given the historicity of this
thesis of the work value, it is clear that the smithian on time issue of
work was misunderstood by Ricardo. Indeed, Smith working time not
not determine the exchangeable value of the goods. The work is rather at home
the real measure of the exchangeable value of all commodities. We are talking about,
specifically, the issue of the extent of the value in the subchapter
In any case, it is this confusion that will lead Marx to present the
formation of the value in the following way: the capitalist with a capital
constant (CC) donne40, committed workers (CV) 41 to produce a
marchandises42. However, Marx argues that the theory of the valeur43 the worker is the
only add value.
39 in those famous Considerations concerning the value of the currency.
40 therefore, raw materials, instruments of production (machines or tools) and a local.
41 capital variable, as he call the cost of labour.
42 of the semi-finished goods or the goods finished.
* 43 from Ricardo, as we have seen.
- So the CC + the value added (VA) by the work of the workers give the
- final product (PF). Suppose from thence that the CC = 4 units (U) and the PF
- as a result of the value added by the working or 10 U. Then we have the formula
- Next: CC:4U + VA: 6U = PF:10U but here says Marx: the worker does not keep
- the full value he created. The capitalist takes a part we will
- Assuming 50%. Therefore the following formula gives us what the
- theorist of scientific said socialism calls, the organic composition of capital
It is important to know that the capitalist shares these three units with the
shopping and that, in addition, it should subsidize the political power of the State. En
effect, the political elite of the capitalist system is, always according to Marx, the Committee
administration of common Affairs of the whole bourgeoisie.
In any case the theory of Marx the goods cannot
be sold at a price much higher than that given by the value. The prize rotates
around the value, but ultimately the goods are sold,
generally speaking, depending on their value. Given by the price differences are
only express the fact of capitalists who are wiser than others.
But, beyond the issue of the value of the goods, retain that
for Marx, this law of value-work is also likely to explain the value of
work and that of the currency. In other words, for him the value-Labour Act
is the key to universal, capable of solving all the puzzles that encloses the system
capitalist. It is precisely this belief – in its Ricardian or Marxist-form,
that has dominated a very important part of economic theory from the second third of the nineteenth century. The certainty over its logic
empirical was she, that she was regarded as the scientific thesis
excellence. Yesterday, for example, it was crazy or provocateur that which
cast doubt on its veracity.
(5) of the exchangeable value
The exchangeable value of an asset is against what it is exchanged. This value
refers, therefore, to the measure that estimates the value of this value. -From this
definition should, therefore, make the difference between what determines the
value of the goods and which measure this value. The first category is a
conditioning, while the second is a determinant that relates to the
a measure of what is thus determined.
So the exchangeable value of each commodity returns to its
valorisation. Normally we realize this value with the currency, but
variations of this instrument – especially in our time – are such that it is
necessary to bring us to a more stable theoretical repository.
Adam Smith already told us in this connection it is important to make the
difference between the nominal value and the actual value of the property. For him, the currency
gives the nominal value, while the work – and more specifically the time of
work – gives the actual value. This issue will introduce as we
previously noted, from Ricardo a confusion of the first order. This, to
due to the fact that Ricardo confuses the Exchange with the exchangeable value value.
In the Marxist tradition told for example, in this connection, that Smith had reported
the importance of working time in the formation of the value, but that it was
lost in his own approach. It was only Ricardo who will find the right wire of
This logic and thus achieve to found scientific thought. Gold, as we
just indicate the source of the misunderstanding lies precisely in the fact that the author of the principles makes over the difference between the value of exchange of goods
and exchangeable value. One, again, refers to the exchange value of
goods in themselves, while the second category refers to the value of the
This difference is essential because it concerns the actual relationship in Exchange
that is the report between goods and their measurement. This difference is all
longer necessary to grasp now that we live in a time where not only
currencies vary greatly, but also a time history where orders
institutional each nation makes it difficult to grasp the difference in power
purchase of the currencies.
But before going any further in this discussion ask the question what
that Smith says compared to classes that we are treating.
What is the nominal author of the wealth of Nations points out in
ease that: "when there is identity of time and place, the money is the.
accurate measure of the exchangeable value of all commodities; but it is not
that in this case only "* 44.
- 44 book 1, Chapter 5.
Then, what is the real value, he explains that "we cannot."
appreciate the actual values of different goods, from one century to another,
According to the amounts of money that was given to them. We do not the
not more than one year to the next based upon the quantities of wheat they enjoy
cost. But according to the quantities of labour, we can appreciate these values with
the greatest accuracy, either from one century to another, or from one year to the other. A
century, wheat is a better measure than silver, because, from a century
of equal quantities of wheat to the other will be much more ready to order the same
the amount of work that would equal amounts of money. From one year to
the other, on the contrary, money is a better measure than the wheat, because of
equal amounts of money will be much more ready to order the same amount of
work' * 45.
It is clear, therefore, that the exchangeable value of an asset is the amount
working this well is in condition to buy or order. We measure this
value in a nominal way, either in a real way. In the life of all the
days we we doing very well with the nominal value. This is when we
try to go beyond this immediate dimension as the real repository
is becoming a necessity.
Note that the nominal value at the time of Smith was more stable than of
our time. Then, the gold standard did not only value very
stable in the short and medium term, but it is also a universal measure. From
so that this measure was, according to its weight, valid for all nations. By
report to this issue, it is important to recall that in our time we
don't have one hand, such standard universal, but that on the other, the different
currencies vary, depending on their value in Exchange, following a pace more or less
important. So taking account of the actual repository is most important
our time as it was the time Smith and the classical period
* 45 ibid.
That being said, it should be noted that Smith does not only us from the
currency and labour as the repository, but also of the wheat. Indeed, this repository
was very commonly used in classical bourgeois so-called times of Western Europe. Grosso
Modo, the eleventh in the seventh century. It was thought then that the wheat yield
was very stable. We now know that this was more or less the case at the time.
Anything that already by the time Smith, in England particularly, this phenomenon was
was upset by the introduction of fertilizers and by the system of rotation of
cultures. In any case, the search for the story of the so-called quantitative46, we
shows that the wheat yield is passed in France by 5.5 for a twelfth, to
9 for one on the eve of the French Revolution. Then, the yield climbed to 24
for on the eve of the second world war. We are currently in
more than 75 for one. It is therefore problematic to continue to use this
repository as measuring instrument.
This is the reason why we only have as viable, to measure the
exchangeable value of goods, that the two categories that we are
treat. -We will leave, for the moment, the nominal value. We
will consider this category when we will deal with the issue of training
prices in Chapter 3.
- 46 that we find in these two great monuments which are the history economic and social world, led by Pierre Léon and the history economic and social of the France, led by Fernand Braudel.
Now, one can ask the question of what is the dimension
practice of such a measure, as the real value of the Exchange. The first
level of response, seems to us to be given by Smith in the following passage: «»
A man is rich or poor, depending on the means that he has to get the needs.
the conveniences and amenities of life. But the division once restored in
all branches of work, there is only an extremely small part of all these
things a man could to obtain directly by his work; It is work
others had to wait most of all these enjoyments; Thus it
will be rich or poor, depending on the amount of work that it can control or that it
will be able to buy. » * 47
In this passage it must make a difference, in relation to the point of view of
the singularity between: firstly, a State of collective existence where everyone is
self-sufficient, and secondly, a social State in which the social existence is
realized through the Exchange. As we reported earlier, the first form
existence is a very common working hypothesis in the classical era. In la
reality such a State of things never existed, for the simple reason that as
noted Aristotle human beings is not an animal capable of self-sufficiency. There
always need to Exchange to subsist. «Trucking provision» * 48 referred to
Smith is specifically a feature of its dimension of animal
47. it is still a passage from book 1, Chapter 5.
48. the propensity to exchange we say now.
* 49 or even Smith would say: "The necessaries and conveniences of life."
That said, it is clear that in its social existence, human beings are not satisfied
his needs with what it produces. He is obliged to do is Exchange part of
most of its work with that of others. The development of
trade is in direct relation to the level of individuation and social development
in general. In our time, for example, individuals use all of
product of their social work to procure the goods they besoin.49
So the real value of the product of a given work is equal to the quantity
working this product puts it in condition to obtain. For example, if a farmer
produced in a given year a quantity x of wheat, the value of this product is more
high, compared to other years, if it puts it in condition to obtain more goods and services. Indeed, in reality, it will exchange all of its work product
with portions of the proceeds from the work of others.
Therefore, the actual value of the result of work of an individual depends
not its value in money, but precisely the greater or lesser amount
This product puts it in condition to obtain. Therefore, its purchasing power. This is
true as well for the outcome of the activity of natural persons, as of
In an inflationary State – and has more strong reason is hyperinflationary.
as we know, the purchasing power that provides a job depends
not the amount of money the employee receives. It rather depends on the amount of
goods and services that this salary puts it in condition to obtain at a given time,
over another. So that an employee can receive at any given time a
most important, but actually lower nominal salary.
* 50 we can also use this repository to complex products, as in the case of a given model of a car. Americans are often using this case to precisely know if purchasing power has varied in the direction of more or less than a year given to another. As, for example, to what extent the purchasing power of such or such social stratum has increased or decreased in 1990 from 1970.
From the point of view of working time, the change in the actual value can
be expressed in the following way. At one point an employee may need
of, say, 10 minutes of work to buy a kilo of bread. If the following year it
needs double the time to buy the same quantity, we can say that
its purchasing power has actually declined by half, and so on * 50.
This repository also allows us to measure more accurately than the
currency, the difference in purchasing power between the nations. If you want to
know the difference of unskilled workers purchasing power between different
countries, working time to procure a set of necessary and standardized property proves more appropriate than if we use a monetary instrument
given. In this case an international currency third. The phenomenon of the overvaluation and undervaluation of one currency relative to others, tends
precisely to randomize this method of calculation. The thesis of the work as
real also allows us to enter other phenomena. As for example,
why while earning less money, translated into international currency, the
wealthy countries the poorest live better than the affluent classes of the countries
rich. Indeed, in poor countries labor is very cheap. So
that the value produced by a given activity allows to have access to as much
working – in services and goods produced in the country – most important. This
explains, therefore, why an average professional in a particular category,
in a poor country has a higher than that of countries real purchasing power
rich. Regardless of whether, as we have indicated, the first earns less in
international currency than the second. Of course behind this simple
is finding the general sociological law, according to which the depletion
social increases inequalities, while enrichment leads to leveling.
from: Norman PALMA
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