So, im interested in socialist ideas and leanings, but I have one major hangup: The Labor Theory of Value.
Ive seen this argument presented many times: in order to be valuable, a product requires labor. In order to trade an apple for an orange, for example, those two things need to be of equal value and are of equal value because they both had a certain amount of labor put into them.
The problem is, there isn't really a way to objectively verify the "value" of something. That comes from supply and demand, but also from the value humans put into those products.
To use the earlier example: if I trade the apple for an orange, it doesn't mean that they are of equal value. Otherwise, if they had the exact same value, I wouldn't need/want to trade them in the first place. I value the orange more than the apple, and the person I'm trading with values the apple more than the orange. In both cases, the products are valued differently because the values are subjective.
It seems that without the labor theory of value, it becomes difficult to fully establish evidence of worker's labor being exploited.
I'm open to having my mind change, so let me know what you think!
You answered your own question. They have the same value.
Yes there is. The LTV is actually pretty easy to formulate in an empirically falsifiable manner. If there is a linear correlation between the stastical mean of the prices of freely reproducible goods and the statistical mean of the labour required to produce said commodities the LTV holds. changes in the relationship between the supply and demand explain deviations from this linear correlation, but as soon as there is balance between supply and demand ( i.e. 1000 widgets are produced yearly and the yearly demand is for 1000 widgets) then supply and demand ceases to explain anything at all.
An increase in demand over supply leads to an increase in price, which leads to prices above the value. This results in super-profits which lead to an increase in investment, resulting in increasing production and therefore supply, driving the price back down to the value. All of this is pretty straightforeward if you actually grasp LTV.
Other deviations of price from value can be explained by shit like monopoly, oligopoly and collusion, or culture wide brainwashing (all three are evident in the price of diamonds for instance) but all of this is accounted for in marxian economic theory so it's hardly a good counter-argument for it's validity.
No, that's false. Diamonds and mining revenue is sold above it's exchange value because it's basically rent from land. Same with oil.
ARRG……. Guys, each fruit takes the same labor, therefore is the same value. Nothing else matters here, you are over thinking it. "Labor"…………" Theory of"…………." Value" It's right there.
Watch Paul cockshotts videos on YouTube
See and "Value" is a placeholder word used by Marx to represent the average socially necessary labour time to produce similar generalized goods as demanded by the rest of the economy. It is not price by itself, but can correlate with it when looking at industries with the same organic composition. Marx discusses prices when going into equilibrium prices and the prices of production. The labour theory of value DOES NOT reject supply and demand when looking at market prices in the slightest, it is merely meant to help explain the base underlying mechanisms of capitalism as a whole.
First part of the paragraph: "Labor is the source of all wealth and all culture."
Labor is not the source of all wealth. Nature is just as much the source of use values (and it is surely ofsuch that material wealth consists!) as labor, which itself is only the manifestation of a force of nature,human labor power. the above phrase is to be found in all children's primers and is correct insofar as it isimplied that labor is performed with the appurtenant subjects and instruments. But a socialist program cannot allow such bourgeois phrases to pass over in silence the conditions that lone give them meaning. And insofar as man from the beginning behaves toward nature, the primary source of all instruments and subjects of labor, as an owner, treats her as belonging to him, his labor becomes the source of use values,therefore also of wealth. The bourgeois have very good grounds for falsely ascribing supernatural creative power to labor; since precisely from the fact that labor depends on nature it follows that the man who possesses no other property than his labor power must, in all conditions of society and culture, be the slave of other men who have made themselves the owners of the material conditions of labor. He can only work with their permission, hence live only with their permission.
The problem is that the trading that actually occurs is not as important, as real, as these two curves that I draw and that could be done in any way aside from the one constraint of the crossing point at the actually observed trading. Why execute a guy for murder? Rationally speaking, he only murdered in order to be executed because he valued his own execution higher than the life of the other guy. It's all subjective and without objectivity, how can we possibly know whether people die when they are killed.
Marx believes in supply and demand. How I like to put it is that supply and demand means that price fluctuates around an equilibrium. But what determines that equilibrium - in other words, what determines price when supply and demand are equal. The answer is the LTV. This is idealism. The use value we give to a commodity has absolutely no bearing on material reality and is irrelevant to anything except your own personal experience.
In Marxist thought, value has units of labor hours, exchange value has units of currency (this is a simplification, as we should really be talking about exchange ratios between commodities based on equivalent labor hour values), and a commodity is either referred to as being "a use value" (it serves some social need) or having use value (utility, more or less). A Marxist analysis should see a price tag and think "X hours" instead of "X dollars", in equilibrium.
in other words: nature provides things that are useful, human labor is necessary to bring them into society to be used.