[LMB] Money, WGW

Pouncer pouncer at aol.com
Fri Nov 20 03:00:02 GMT 2020


B. Ross mentions:

  > the distinction between use-value and exchange-value, for starters.

Yeah.   Again, the WGW of _tSK_ is right on the cusp of the industrial
revolution. And Fawn's perspective is illustrative of the issues
Karl -- my least favorite Marx Brother -- was wrestling with.  The
factory system can spin fiber to yarn and knit yarn into socks and
undershorts many MANY times faster than Fawn can using her individual
drop spindle and knitting needles. What will she, what should she,
what CAN she pay for factory-made, standard-size, products? Or does
she, as she dreams, spend her money on a home-sized spinning wheel
of her own, stepping up from the drop-spindle but not quite going
full factory-worker? In an industrial age, does a home worker even
have "productive" economic value?  Are only "products" -- physical
stuff -- wealth? Or is all true wealth biological? But Farmers,
who one would think would know all about biology, track wealth in
LAND value. Fawn's twin sibs -- names escape me right now (I'm
stuck on "Warp" and "Weft" [ probably as a side-effect of considering
Fawn's lust for a loom ] which are Whit's horses not his brothers) --

... where was I?

AH!  LAND VALUE.  Clear timber, bust sod, and wring new wealth from
the virgin territory.  Except be sure to stay near the main roads
or the river, and behind the secured line patrolled by the
Lakewalkers.

Positional value...  (not in the sense of Fred Hirsch and "neener
neener" value, but in the sense of Henry George. Hey Nick Rosen,
you lurking?) That's partly why I dislike formal economics. One
precise term, two disjoint meanings or concepts of "value".

And that's aside from still other forms of value. In real life,
recently, it's been interesting to watch the rise and fall of the
"Soda-Stream" machines. These are home based "factories" that allow
individuals to make their own fizzy sugary flavored drinks, for
mere pennies, instead of spending a dollar-per-pop (so to speak)
for commercial factory-made drinks.  What consumers discovered,
and what seemingly should have been obvious to the machine
makers, is that people aren't actually buying soda. Not JUST
soda. People buy a measured dose in a practical size in a handy
container at some convenient location at a pleasant temperature;
perhaps with clean ice and a sanitary straw. Above the
manufacturing costs of the soda -- pennies to either home or
factory -- consumers don't WANT to spend to procure and sanitize
containers, or chill them and contents, and transport them around.
It's much better to have skilled truck drivers deliver product and
stock the bins and machines with bottles, cans, or at least
component syrup mixes to commercial dispensers to chill and serve.
The container companies, the truck manufacturers, the driver,
the vending machine makers, the electric companies, refrigeration
technicians -- there are hundreds of people making fractions of
a penny on each serving of soda sold. And all these workers ADD
VALUE to the economy as they make or install or service or stock or
pull down to replace the infrastructure around the soda.  If not
for a billion dollar soda-pop econmony delivering value, the end
consumer must replace those values of location and preparation and
convenience; subtracting time and labor and inventory space and
traffic location and related stuff from his limited resources, just
to have a sugary drink once in (unpredictable) while.

Or drink tea, I suppose. The muleteer teams hauling tea chests up
the WGW's Trace are getting paid, but I'm not sure how Marx considers
the value of such non-factory worker's time.   Anyhow...

The Soda-producing gadget makes a lavishly burdensome Christmas
gift to somebody you don't particularly like, though.  Amazon
item number B07NTVKQN3.  About $200. If spite seems valuable, this
would be worth it.

Spite is valuable, by the way. Neither Dag nor any of his kin
and cohorts at camp had any use for, appreciation of, or concept of
value regarding the wolf hide and other trophy skins he had left in
"stores".  But as bride gifts to spite (scare, impress, confuse,
whatever) the new in-laws - Finally!  Get those dead beasts out of
the warehouse!  Best use Dag could think of. Wonder how many horses
or horseshoes or horseshoe nails he'd have taken in trade for them
a year previously?  And if the WGW hadn't had the concept of coins
left over from a prior civilization, would trade in convenient
standard sized iron goods like horseshoes or nails have been enough
clue to re-invent such commodity money?








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