If Marxists claim that useful labor is the source of a commodities value then would a commodity that has an expiration date, strawberries for example have as much value when they turn rotten as when they are fresh?

  • I think your reading of Marx is too literal. I see sense in a lot of things Marx said... But I've always wondered why computer CPU's are so cheap. Have you ever looked at one under a microscope.. have you any idea how much labour is involved? Yet... I'm glad that free market economics commoditised them. On the flip side.. I'm not really sure why a song that took the author a few weeks to produce should make them exorbitantly wealthy. On this subject Marx had a lot to say.. – Richard Sep 30 '18 at 20:55
  • generally marx has a lot more to say about the depreciation of the means of production (we have to buy a new stocking frame) – another_name Apr 27 at 3:22
  • tho marx did consider "the universal depreciation of commodities, the difficulty or even impossibility of transforming them into money, i.e., into their own purely fantastic form". i would be interested in whether the commodities have the same "value", thanks +1 – another_name Apr 27 at 3:26
  • @another_name, value to whom? The rotten strawberries have certainly been vested with the same amount of labour as fresh ones - allowing them to rot, or producing things that rot very quickly, may go to the question of the social usefulness of that labour in the first place. Also, the existence of forces that may destroy value - whether through human action or passive natural process - are not ruled out. – Steve May 28 at 11:59

This is more of an economic theory question, however it has interesting implications about the relevance of concepts.

In the begining of Das Kapital Marx is interested in defining what creates value. His objective is to show that the investment of workforce is what creates value, in order to make a case for the idea that it is the workers ("proletarians") who create value and not the capitalists.

The mecanisms of how value gets depleted is out of his scope for this purpose.


I think most would find that the value diminishes over time. Also, the value of say a foot treadle sewing machine became less with the advent of the electric sewing machine. Assigning value based on effort solely is not part of Marxism, however. Marx wrote that the effort should be the primary factor in figuring value, not the only one.

  • Well, (economical and any physical) value exists only in comparison. So, what we can actually say is that a foot treadle sewing machine just less valuable than an electric one. – rus9384 Sep 28 '18 at 17:36
  • And exists only in relation to a person doing the value assessment. Massive labor can add zero value for any given person's valuation, or even take away. Labor can't add value to anything unless it does so in the judgment of a person who values how that labor transforms that thing. – kbelder Nov 27 '18 at 19:07
  • I am unclear why value would have to be a comparison. – Patrick O'Hara Nov 27 '18 at 21:17
  • Value as an abstract is based on the person doing the value assessment. This type of value can vary wildly from person to person and from time to time. Whether there is objective value is a different question than the one posted here. – Patrick O'Hara Nov 27 '18 at 21:19
  • i downvoted cos you don't cite anyone and uh i think you're wrong tbh (but am not sure) – another_name Apr 27 at 3:56

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