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Relative Value Form

Updated on June 3, 2012
Value is relative to the amount of labor put into production. Gathering raw resources generally has less labor value than turning them into a useful object.
Value is relative to the amount of labor put into production. Gathering raw resources generally has less labor value than turning them into a useful object. | Source

As More Labor is Put into a Commodity, the Value Generally Increases

We must analyze value form ratio independent of the quantitative aspect. We must determine a term of a standard unit by which all commodities can be measured. Only by this method can we begin to get some clarity with quantities that bear a unified name and are then commensurable.

No matter what we chose to define two commodities in relative value, we can reduce them to magnitudes of expression as shown in equations (3.2) through (3.6). Linen = clothing thus becomes the foundation of the expressions.

Marx then compares two chemicals with the same construction of elements, but used for two entirely different purposes. He compares butyric acid and propyl, both of which have the molecule C4H8O2. In use, both chemicals have a different function, just as labor has different functions, but labor value remains the same, despite value abstraction. In the world of linen and clothes, the function of weaving and tailoring can be reduced to a common type of labor value; abstract labor value. The equivalence of different labor is found in the fact that human labor is required in each case. In the world of commodities, we are concerned with the relation of one commodity to another and the value of each is related to the other. This is mirrored in relative cosmology and is commented on in the Dialectics of Nature and Dialectical Cosmology.

In a value ratio toward linen, clothes is expressed as a qualitative equal. As a value, it is equivalent. Both have use value, but clothes have a compound use value from the sum of labor involved from raw use value products like wool, cotton and synthetic fiber. A person can wear unprocessed wool, such as a skin from an animal that is unprocessed, or they can wear a sweater woven out of the spun and woven natural fibers of the animal’s hair. The sweater thus has more meaning in the value relation than a raw hide of wool.

Between raw resources, woven cloth and tailored clothes, the final commodity is a depository of accumulated value. To most who are unaware of how these are made from raw resources and all the steps involved to the final suit, the quality of the depository of value remains hidden. This can be problematic when attempting to persuade someone of the value of each laborer who had input somewhere along the line of production. In the mall centered existence of the modern era, where clothing is now manufactured from scratch by robots, it is hard to see the steps that lead to this from the outset; some of which are now past history and lost to the consciousness of the mall goer. But even this does not reduce the depository value; it merely has added more steps, hence more labor value with a historic accumulation toward more sophisticated manufacture. In the past and in some areas of the world today in a reality of combined and unequal development, a king is given the aura of majesty, but that majesty is something that has to be given to the king by the subjects who must be trained to do so. To the outsider, the king is just like any other individual.

The commodity value of the linen is expressed though contained in the commodity value of clothes. The value of one is the use value of the other, just as the cloth is the commodity value of the use value of raw resources. According to Marx; and this subject will be developed later, this relationship is also reflected in the sheep like disposition of the Christian believer to relation and resemblance to the "Lamb of God". This is a major story in itself and needs a separate investigation as so much of religion is a sham designed to pull the wool over the eyes of the masses. This however does not negate the considerations of labor value thus far. From raw resource, to cloth, to clothing, the value of one is sublimated into the value of another more completed commodity down the line of production until the final step Commodities all along the line of assembly are materialized human labor. Each step has a relative value to all the others.

In the Pursuit of Profit


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