(Yet more) Notes on Value
On the ＆Nature＊ of Value＃
Process/time and ＆value＊ (price, exchange value).
What are the implications of ＆value＊ when considered as a time-based, contingent process? The answer must in some measure include the question of value as quality or as ＆subjective＊, so involving the notion of temporality (the experiential relation of past, present and future), as also quantitative, measurable or ＆objective＊, so involving what we call ＆time＊ (social time). This later sense, it is worth noting straight away, is primarily about something measurable - and is as true of ＆time＊ as of ＆value＊, and once these measures are agreed with others (as ＆time＊ and ＆money＊) then they both become usable, exchangeable. All these measures are involved, evoked, even born, in the light of comparison (again, also true of one measure of value, money).
So what we already have here are two very different kinds of ＆value＊; the first divisible between a personal use value and a higher value (＆values＊ or what we hold ＆sacred＊) and an exchange value or means of comparison (imaginary, largely arbitrary units of measure, ＆money＊ or ＆time＊ as the basis of exchange). The two kinds of value echo the two similarly different forms of ＆time＊, ＆inner＊ and ＆outer＊: the first, our felt temporality, is based upon the experience of an on-going ＆eternal present＊ - with its illicit but indispensable generalization, home to universals, axioms and gods alike, ＆eternity＊ ( ＆ground＊ of the ＆higher values＊ just mentioned above) The second, involves the comparison, or overlay, of abstract quantities (years, months, days, hours, minutes, seconds and their fractions) with, or onto, observable natural cycles. In short, values change and what is valued may be measured (meaning that what is valuable one day may not be so the next, what is valuable to one may not be so for another, or that what is valuable in one ＆economy＊ may not be so in another, we may contrast the addition of objects or ＆wealth＊ in a household with a market, or the making of objects for the household or the market - or, again, that what one day may be found to have a value measured, may, the next, have no value at all＃ we see this in reselling, some things increase in price, others no longer have a price＃ so reflecting their situation or context of being valued or being without value). Both (or all) are products of their cultural context. All are certainly ＆man-made＊. The first pair (values, temporality) are felt, experienced, by every human subject: the second (money, time) invented, then regarded as an object (＆objective＊). The social fictions of money and time are then often put together to form labour as paid for according to units of time (when not in units of made objects or their production and distribution - or in services). The latter offers the intuition of labour time as value: but two fictions do not make a real object. If we ignore the subject side (again our old friend, or bad habit, the ＊restricted economy＊ is at hand) then this new fiction, appearing as objective, simply leads to a mismatch with reality (price) or objective (read, empirical) irrelevance＃ The inclusion of the subject-ive side, returns the question of value as values, embodied individually, but communal, social or cultural shared realities (as opposed the useless fiction of ＊social labour＊ or ＆socially necessary labour time＊ invented to square the circle of the labour theory of value with actual prices - that is with the real process of exchange in the 每real or imaginary- but ＆restricted＊ economy of ＆the market＊, as abstracted from the sum of exchanges that make up our lives; ＆restricted＊ because also clearly avoiding the subjective, value-giving, side of personal desire or cultural values, and their expression as gift or sacrifice). These values range from immediate desire, use value or consumption, to, higher on the scale, what we most value, or ＆what we hold sacred＊ as it appears to whatever individual or whatever social group or community of belief or ＆structure of feeling＊, in whatever phase of human (or pre-human, that is hominid) history. So from the assertion of individual value or values in agency and aim, action or transaction, the subject side may be generalized into the social, collective or community forms of value or significant values (which are also individual and collective forms of desire 每 and so of identity, whether of recognition or assertion or expressed in consumption). And without this kind of value, there can be no price＃ (just as, in terms of experience, the object is contained within the subject). By contrast, objective dominance, as price, comes in as part of a collective transaction; just as ＆objective＊ means ＆witnessed by more than one＊, or the implication of ＆truth＊ as inter-subjective, so price also is a collective transaction requiring at least two 每 the result of the meeting of values and the means of exchange or its negotiation according to custom 每 however, here too, the ＆price＊ paid as part of the exchange may not necessarily reflect the ＆market＊ price).
(However the ＆labour theory of value＊ as an intuition or value, as part of a system of values, does have one important use, one I will discuss below＃)
With respect to economic or social (or just any) static, structural or ＆equilibrium＊ models, the first thing to note is that, regarding the cycles and rhythms and process(es) of real time, there is no ＆feedback loop＊ - only a ＆feed-forwards loop＊＃ In a word: there is no equilibrium. The future is not (will not be) the same as the present; so no ＆return＊ is possible to find the ＆original＊ or ＆real value＊ now lost in the past (that is to say ＆value＊ is not that kind of direct cause and effect relation); this value changes according to situation, one minute having price, the next one without, then used or stored, then revalued (say as antique) and so on, until worn out, used up or stored in a museum (＊beyond price＊). Forwards movement or change, the movement of time, changes the situation or context of valuing and exchanging. Moreover, this ＆outer＊ movement or change in time每space (process, cycle, rhythm) echoes our ＆inner＊ movement or change as diremption (oscillation), where we move from ＆subjective＊ to ＆objective＊ (between present and past, or wait until the future becomes the past, the recent memory that, in turn, informs our present) and ＆back＊ again, to the subjective present in terms of desiring and valuing, pricing and exchanging＃ (except that, again, strictly speaking, there is no ＆back again＊, things will have moved on＃). So moving ＆forwards＊, or change, mutability, process, temporalises value as felt or imagined in context, and as made actual, ＆objective＊, only in context, at the point of exchange in an on-going process (the same is true of the ＆cost of production＊ as ＆true value＊＃ again, time moves forwards not backwards＃ forwards to actual price of exchange... if any＃ whence ＆making a profit＊, or ＆making a loss＊＃).
Process demystifies. If the present makes the value (subject side, how we feel about something, now, and how much we might be prepared to pay for it), or the actual price or exchange relation or ratio (what and how we agree with others), then the past makes the present (object side) bringing together all the elements of the exchange relation (made or found object, the one who wants it, and the price paid or terms of exchange according to the actual situation then obtaining). Finally, however, the present decision is made by people according to their values in coordination with the given situation＃ In a glut the objects may be worthless, but we may pay a token to show ＆fairness＊ 每 a nod towards the ＆labour theory of value＊ as respect for the other＊s work time (however this too is subject side, a question of values, the rest, production and price, are describable as objects only after the event, too late for the negotiation of a prior transaction＃ as past, untestable＃ and generally irrelevant to the question of context). Again the ＆object side＊, the cost of production, actually (a part of) the object＊s past, is not only irrelevant but anyway incomplete (the calculation to invest was made with an eye to profit in the future). As just noted, this picking out of features from the past, is at best a description after the event (as in models of ＆total social＊ labour or capital, or supposed ＆feed-back＊ processes, etc＃) and redundant, because un-applicable, retrospective description＃ in a word, abstract. Concrete is: how many people and materials are needed to make or build something? This we know: for the State the decision is a matter of political values and political will; for the market it depends on identifying demand and being able to make the object (＆commodity＊) at below market price (efficiency and profit) or at market price (profit as payment for management and investment, another kind of labour and interest)＃ But things change (between production and the return found on the market there may lie a myriad of interceding events) and we only know when the object is finally sold＃ if sold at all. And resold ＃ for value in goods is the same as in ethics (has value, is ＆good＊) or like ＆beauty＊ in aesthetics; it is culturally contingent on subjective interest and taste＃ and desire＃ (as when an everyday object becomes an antique, and we wish to buy or sell it). Again the ＆general economy＊ not only includes desire, value as subjective, concrete and in context, but suggests that one cannot view nor understand human activity, social process, indeed a culture＊s mode of exchange, without it＃ Witness the element in identity which refuses the ＆right＊ of objects, reason, norms and customs (assertion, sacrifice, the negative or destructive forms of ＆gift＊) or seeks for, or bestows, value (commodity and identity in consumerism, ＆cultural capital＊, distinction, sub-cultures＃). And we remember the earliest trade, food apart, featured tools and ornaments, the making of things and the making 每the asserting- of identity＃
With apologies to Marx, it is not the commodity that stands as fiction of his or her own creation against the producer, the commodity form is just that form most suitable for a mass market, for circulating goods we all need (and much the same could be said for the colonialist, negative comparative, of ＆commodity fetishism＊), rather it is ＊money＊ which is the fiction that we stand in thrall to, a fiction that, when taken beyond its role as a facilitator of exchange, destablises the market at the cost to the many, for the benefit of the very few 每 as we see in financial crises＃
Actually this designation of value as social, as cultural, as culturally specific, as cultural practice (again contingent, as opposed to the labour theory of value as the solid essentialist ＆secret＊ or hidden ＆deep structure＊ or ＆truth＊ of value and the commodity) is already present in Marx＊s theory of ＆commodity fetishism＊ (as noted by commentators from Rubin to Graeber 每 and many in between每 from the early 20th to the early 21st century). Often overlapping, or being confused, with the term ＆reification＊ (where a relation is taken for a thing). Again, leaving aside the negative comparison or name-calling, (colonialist) use of the term ＆fetish＊- a making negative of what is from another culture and religion, another history and social formation, tribal and implying another ＆race＊, or skin colour, of what is, for that culture, the very essence or repository of the sacred (like the institution of the Kula, centering on an object of cyclic ＆gift＊ exchange). Leaving this aside, ＆commodity fetishism＊ may more usefully be taken as referring to the subjective or identity side of what is ＆sacred＊ in capitalism or rather, in the modern market, in mass market exchange (only a feature of post-World War 2 advanced capitalism), for with the mass market we no longer have commodity against worker (which in practice usually means the producers produce for the middle classes and not for themselves), but commodities for all, as in a well-regulated economy, all appear as both producer and consumer.
Either way, it is the present (subjective temporality or ＆eternal present＊ with its input of memory and ＆objective time＊, or ＆time now＊ with its past determinations) that decides both value and price of exchange (＆exchange value＊) or, the commodity object＊s place in our values and its price in negotiation or on the market (what buyer and seller will agree to＃ or what the law, or relevant power structure, demands＃). Other ＊knowledge＊, other ＆relevant facts＊ (capital, materials, wage and transport costs, coordination and logistics, etc) come after the event (just as historians may be knowledgeable - in retrospect＃). After the market event, the moment of exchange, regardless of the calculations of the capitalist, investor or manager＃
Regarding the future aspects of the process in question＃ Forwards looking is like credit (which usually is needed to make the process actual, before, with and after, ＆money＊) the pay-off (or not) comes later＃ This question of trust is foregrounded as the social or cultural context of any transaction; the relations of exchange, precisely as＃. relationships (to which we might add the modern legal context). Also in this sense of economic categories as cultural categories meaningless outside of their social context or context of use (the exchangers and the cultures that inform them), Piketty is probably right to work with an expanded notion of ＆capital＊ as what we (in any given culture or period) invest to achieve a given end (higher productivity), from early tool making to modern financial tools＃ in effect, paralleling the evolution of technology as ＆labour-saving＊ or more precisely, increasing the productivity of labour (mental or physical, production or transport). Leroi-Gorhan also works with this sense of a complete ＆culture＊, a network rather than an artificially abstracted ＆economy＊ 每 indeed the ideological separation of ＆economy＊ from society, may be one source of the economic and social problems of wealth distribution＃ as a narrow (self-deserving) definition of ＆economics＊ drives politics and law making＃
The decisive role of context should not surprise us, given its role in linguistics, in making actual meaning, in interpretation, even in identity (in all senses of the term, who we are, as where and when and with whom＃. or as the ＊law of identity as non-contradiction＊ surpassed by change, by the passage of time). So why not value too: and not only the contingencies of subjective valuing, of desire or the expression of our values, but also the objective nature of price (with its concrete alternation from objective availability to subjectivity in the preparedness to pay, or accept ＃ how much?) This is always a question of values as well as needs and desires - and of course the ability to pay. As in the case of ＆identity＊, however, we all seem to gravitate towards the all-explaining, over-arching (hyphenated) concepts and their offering of a definitive closure of meaning (＆first and last things＊), or primarily cohesive forms of explanation. Returning to economics, Mandel in his own ambitious (economic) history, proposed, regarding the weakness in quantifying and demarcating, that is specifying, the role of the ＆labour theory of value＊ (the ＆essence＊ of price as opposed to actual price) that we use it as the cohesive final or general explanation of historical movements of price (but an explanation with no predictive power) 每 other economists who have used Marx have found that as they cannot quantify so they can do without＃ However we all use empirical past experience to predict (memory and the future as proposed repetition) that is, we collect facts and figures and make projections. As for cohesion as an excuse for abstract conceptualization and unexamined default axioms, quantum theory shows us the way of doing away with this: not only by refusing Einstein＊s ＆classical＊ explanation, but by refusing all and any other coherent ＆cohesive＊ theory, indeed of ＆cohesion＊ as such if it interferes with the empirical facts - so showing a preference for a diremptive model or non-model of reality as ＆totality＊ (ironically, a favourite term for those that work with untestable abstractions and generalisations). Again we are saying goodbye (a ＆long goodbye＊, and in metaphysics, all goodbyes are ＆long good byes＊) to the age-old presupposition, the default position of the history of human thought＃＊till now＊＃ of a unified manifold as guide to correctness (the ＆law of non-contradiction＊ on a ＆totalising＊, mega-scale as the meta axiom of ＆sense-making＊). Returning to economics, we may remove the mystical, metaphysical element, first by returning ＆economic activity＊ to society and culture as a set of evolving, but repetitive, processes (cycles) and second by returning subjectivity and volition, that is the relation of value and choice, agency and action, to the actual actors of the process and then, third, by noting the difference of our ＆subjective＊ experience of, or ＆as＊, the Eternal Present (and so of the values present there) as compared to ＆objective＊ empirical observation (first, second or third hand)＃ So perhaps also leaving aside 每for a while- the mediation of theory (if the theory is hell-bent on creating an abstract totalisation, usually a harmonious monism made ＆harmonious＊ by excluding what does not fit＃). And so finally noting the role of the diremption in the social or human sciences as also providing the dividing line between a concrete ＆cultural＊ view and our variable individual moments of viewing; ＆our＊ change in views according to our contingent, embedded position ＆in the world＊ (immediate context), and our received thought position or ideological, cultural point of view (social and historical context). Or just our oscillation between subject and object, self and other, between inner and outer points of view＃ together with their parallels in our culture at large: that is, of ＆doxa＊ or public opinion (a ＆collective subject＊) and the more objective pronouncements of official science; which may in turn be divided between empirical data and experience and conceptual, theoretical marshalling of the facts in the coral of a set of outdated expectations (interestingly the quantitative here is on the side of the ＆subjective＊ or ＆partial moment＆每 just as in quantum theory 每 and opposed to the ＆god＊s eye view＊ of universalising or would-be ＆objective＊ laws 每 anyway always self-contradictory). This division in a zone or field of culture is the ＆outer＊ manifestation of the diremption (as found operating in the arts and sciences and in human thought or philosophy).
Running to the object for objective description, then running into its concrete observing, experiencing subject-ivities (first in ＆our＊ present, then ＆finally＊ in my present); running to the subject and its agency, its self-assertion, then running into its abstract envisioning as object (self as object, as other), the object of past description＃ (and so on＃ in ＆eternal＊ oscillation＃).
It would appear that the lessons of quantum theory leave all the fields of knowledge open to new thinking. With some theoretical physicists (Penrose) even suggesting that the opposite forces, magnitudes or extremes assumed as the beginning and end of the Big Bang may turn out to be ＆the same＊, their difference a matter of (our human) point of view＃ Now whether this openness to new models, new conceptualisations, is due to previously incorrect models (that is the ＆nature of matter＊ as liable to verification and update) or to ＆the nature of ourselves＊, of our embedded human viewpoint with all its contingencies, is another issue, an undecidable - aporetic. Much like the thesis of strong linguistic or cultural immersion as determining our understanding of the world or as ＆worlding＊ (from Sapir-Whorf to Heidegger) there is a point where we are in a grey area, a ＆both＃ and＊ type of proposition, where we cannot tell (there being no externality or ＆outside＊ from which we can view＃ ourselves, here, ＆within＊). And after the diremption and its constitutive oscillation are taken as the basis of human ＆being＊ (human becoming), we might suppose that both opposing theses appear to operate in turn (or even produce a ＆neither＃ nor＊, as we wait for something better to turn up).
When most people talk about their objectivity and ＆the real world＊ they do not mean objectivity in the empirical, inter-subjective, to have witnessed, or group verification sense (＆correspondence＊): rather, they mean their latest model or over-arching theory or narrative (＆cohesion＊) in which they place their faith (the model or story as such being untestable), this belief then, together with an explanation that unites everything around a single concept, mapping a total field, is what seems to be required 每 a matter of faith, or habit, or maybe we should say desire＃ Theories, I do not need to add, are subjective on two counts: they are held and not perceived, not experienced but inherited, or assembled through reason (and sometimes even mathematics - formal languages all are part/whole overlays on an untidy because ever transforming manifold); and because they are often generalisations 每 which again only occur in the mind. Matter knows no generalisations. Only the particular is concrete, found in a given context, only the particular is real＃ is a real object (of perception).
Values and price come together as what you would actually pay (exchange value or price paid as influenced by values), and what you would actually pay for (values 每or identity- as expressed by what we decide to buy, ＆what is worth paying for＊, as first a question of values). ＆Supply and demand＊, or ＆markets＊ as just an abstraction (as irrelevant as ＆labour time＊, a moral 每subjective- term for fairness, so again expressing ＆value＊ as the product of values). Concrete problems require concrete, particular solutions. Otherwise we make laws to adjust as we need＃ unless the direction of State is captured by a minority in quest of enrichment (and entitled enrichment at that) at the expense of everybody else and the social fabric itself (after which they would usually leave＃).
Labour (time) spent may be for personal use or for others; for others as gift type exchange or for market type exchange 每 and indeed a thing made for self might one day acquire antique value for others＃ The net result being, as noted above, a net increase in goods and services - that is ＆wealth＊. So labour time (simply having done something) cannot be used as an actual measure, even labour time ＆intended＊ for the market, for sale - at best one factor among many (unless as an aspect of personal time management, or a moral measure between friends and family as index of fairness). There is simply no direct cause and effect relation. Wages too are dependent upon the market; but markets are never level nor fair. ＆Socially necessary＊ does not mean socially necessary according to values, but ＆on the market＊＃ but this is notoriously contingent, at best a partial picture＃ and changeable. If something needs to be ＆socially necessary＊ in the sense of marketable as its source of value, then it is not a question of labour (an object could be found, in nature, another＊s waste, etc). Rather we have a question of the values (which values 每 market economic or as a gift to the community) that determine where labour will be spent (State investment augmenting or even guiding ＆market＊ investment is a case in point). Price is a concrete relation of exchange in time-space. Time does not flow back (to re-find the original, essential and ＆true value＊), but forwards, whence credit, and also a new situation (and maybe a new price, new conditions of exchange). Either way, the old time of labour time (＆time how long＊ in the time of making) or ＆costs of production＊ is long gone: price then changes according to (every) new situation＃ Like everything else, its meaning (its ＊value＊) is its context＃ in process＃ (a process that includes an imaginary element, that is subject-ive, the matter of values or the values that matter and an actual element, that is object-ive, the exchange value or price, or the price of exchange as evoking, embodying, the values of both parties). Everything is context＃ ＆Bad＊ investments do well in a continuous long boom: ＆good＊ investments do badly in a recession. All is context＃ (the rest is so much wishful thinking).
As are the objective ＆laws＊ that are said to govern ＆it＊; social process requires ever new descriptions＃
The ＊object＊ we view, then describe, but which has, by then, moved on＃
Wealth (of Cultures) and production (of cultures)＃ more contexts＃
Wealth or ＊economic＊ growth＃ a matter of the increase of objects and services＃ and of the free time to use them (from labour saving in the home and work place to new objects and services, new culture, to fill the time＃). Money, if used, is just a means (of exchange), a matter of tokens and debt settlement; its use value, along with the rest, a convenience 每 time saving＃ (saving the ＆eternal present＊ from a being it would not wish to be in, from a becoming it would not wish to share＃). Culture increases in volume and (hopefully) quality, a movement from values (the values that tell us what we should and should not consume, and how＃) to objects and services (and their value to us as expressed in terms of price); an increase in what we can use (the imposition of markets and removal of taboos is also one way of doing this, the modern way; so is theft, tribal, ancient and feudal＃ as is slavery). In subject/object terms: subjective experience, as desire and need find their objects and services as mediated by our values. In terms of the diremption proper (co-implicating, but otherwise exclusive), the subject and object points of view are complementary in that the ＊external point of view＊ is our imagination of our selves (as others might see us) doing whatever, and also including, right or wrong, the implied moral point of view of the other as Other - our basking in harmony and approval if doing the ＊right thing＊ (if ＆wrong＊ or illegal, however, then we may experience the guilt which incites viciousness). Temporally speaking, need arises (present 每 or both present and not present as desire or ＆day dream＊, an extension of the waking imagination or the sleeping dream), we identify it, that is we remember its origin (past) and end (past into future) always allowing for the fact that it fits in with our (social/cultural) values as held to be (as if) ＆eternal＊ 每 or guaranteed by an outside, or ＆Absolute Other＊ (so not a fact). This latter would be the ＆external＊ step of the oscillation, the alternation of the terms of the diremption (as described above). Having first imagined ourselves doing so, we then go to look for this object or means of satisfaction (to find and ＆pick＊, steal, loan, order or buy 每 by means of immediate or 每temporally- extended exchange) - or we may make it＃ (a thing, a service performed, or a problem solved)＃
Production＃ what we make, from objects and services to ideas. From the Paleolithic to the Modern, humans have used their time for labour or leisure, or labour as leisure (leisure activity as creativity, as culture forming), some of that time used to save time (invested time or time as ＆capital＊) or to permit time for other activities, or just to satisfy a passing need or desire＃ First making things, or doing things, for self and intimates, then for extended others, for exchange in all its forms＃ and for further exchange, for trade and markets＃ (forced or unforced)＃ for anonymous others＃ as a passing job, a ＆gig＊, or as a career. And if we are lucky we like what we do and the conditions are good. If not, if we hate what we do (economic coercion or wage slavery) and the pay and conditions are bad, then we have exploitation 每 not because of the question of ＆surplus value＊ (who does not live beyond or above this ＆below surplus＊ level, a relative cultural value not an absolute economic fact 每 unless in disaster conditions or 19th century industrial capitalism at its worst＃). I repeat: this is not a matter of ＆surplus value＊ (which disappears when all the work involved, manual and mental, is taken into account 每 but of course, certain jobs and certain perks or ＆incentives＊ may be fictional, ＆positional＊＃), but of the violence of exploitation (pay, conditions, arbitrary abuse of authority, actual and symbolic violence). The ＆secret＊ of value (much metaphysical speculation has been expended on this) is simple: we agree to make more and to use more, and unsurprisingly we have a growth in things and services and＃ ＆value＊; ＆net value＊ 每 that is the ＆economy＊ grows (the agreement to do so, is, of course, a matter of ＆values＊). At some stage our values may decree that it does not need to grow anymore＃
In ritual terms much of the above is repeated action, habit, all linked to identity (the ＆always already＊ diremptive self-image) as part of a given culture, a matter of self-image in that context, and, in special cases, in intense experience, as in special expenditure or consumption as sacrificial (＆gift exchange＊) as in celebrations from reunions to annual festivals, from self-sacrifice - from the element of sacrifice as gift exchange in every consumerist purchase, the ＆sacrifice＊ we make for our identity, that is our ＆values＊ 每 especially the ＆important ones＊, so to self-denial, self-mortification and suicide, to the sacrifice of the other＃ (ritual symbolic violence, scapegoating, pogrom, ＆ethnic cleansing＊, etc).
Sacrifice too (in whatever guise, god ＆maintaining＊, expiating or propriating, purifying, or spiritual advancement) in all cases a ritual exchange (our identity reaffirmed) guaranteed by an ＆outside＊ 每 its supernatural ＆explanation＊ is only an extrapolation from the range of everyday and special exchanges (of which it is one) of human or social relations, our culturally specific bonds of debt to one another, to the imagined heavens and their equally imaginary personifications (as is the parallel and supporting extrapolation from the everyday experience of the eternal present to the positing of ＆eternity＊＃).
Process, ritual and value (diremption and value: time and money)
From the point of view of becoming or process (change in time-space as given, or default) ritual is the process we must go through (and repeat) which attempts to freeze time, that is, to resist change or repair its wear and tear (entropy, in this case social and psychological) 每 or to mark a new beginning. In either case, old or new, we witness the assertion of an identity: an identity usually communal, shared. Ritual in this sense is conservative, its role is conservational; this half-frozen, half-moving situation is an attempt to stabilise some, often imaginary, state of Being 每 centering on some aspect of identity (a remembered and desired state of affairs which is quickly overtaken by change, as its object-hood, and indeed objectivity, is quickly proved to be positional, limited, subjective). However, as all is always in a state of Becoming or change, process is the only realistic default form of understanding of ＆things＊ and ＆identity＊; so change arrives as ＆time＊ moves on and as entropy eats away at structure; any static state therefore then can only be temporary, indeed, illusory, and its evocation or repair through some form of intervention or ritual must therefore be repeated at frequent intervals. This repeated, often cyclic, action is the process we normally call ritual, or rituality, or ritual ＆exchange＊ (time, space, goods or persons, for identity). It is also the way we create (or use up) value precisely as an expression of values and so (a) culture 每 the values of a culture, the values of a given identity. The cyclic aspect, the repetition of these rituals, echoes the cyclic nature of natural change (the seasons) and of time (its measure) in the course of which our social bonds, on which we depend, may loosen. The rhythm of ritual thus follows on the rhythms of change and entropy, repairing its damage and re-asserting identity where difference (or in-difference) may have begun to predominate (this is as true of the handshake and passing glance of recognition confirmed, as of the celebrations and major festivals that reunite families and friends and reaffirm collective identity). An identity and its values are, in all cases, what is being asserted, a sense of self and community is reinforced or reinvented＃
＆Being asserted＊ indeed; in the face of Becoming＃
As are the objective ＆laws＊ that are said to govern ＆it＊; social process requires ever new descriptions＃
The role of the ritual process then is to repair the damage of process as such by fixing things (in both senses of the verb, ＆to fix＊); to construct identity or being, in the face of entropy or change, or＃ to cement change, ＆fixing＊ a new identity or sense of community or connection, relationship＃ to asset what it is that we value, hold important or sacred (and so the connection with ＆religion＊ and the religious element in ideology). Culture is recreated, alliances and beliefs and values made certain.
A presumptive ＆a-temporality＊, or ＆provisional eternity＊ is asserted which is clearly designed to combat the actual changes of real processes (social entropy) and not the abstract ticking away of ＆social time＊, the means of measure or comparison that we often confuse with physical time - time as change. This assertion takes place in our lived temporality (the sense of being in an ＆eternal present＊ 每 we really should say ＆becoming＊ in an ＆eternal present＊, or, even more strictly, in terms of our experience, ＆the eternal present＊, our ＆always-place＊ - which gives birth, by generalization, to the sense of ＆eternity＊, the ＊no-place＊ where we hide our universals and sacral beliefs, gods and Nature). This is the temporality in which we re-assert our values through the experience of ritual, a special and entirely imaginary time-place, where the desired sense of identity and community is again felt to be eternal 每 placed again, for a while, beyond the reach of ＆time＊ 每 that is, rescued from change.
If we look at the question of value in terms of the ＆eternal present＊ as our experience of an on-going subjectivity (both active and aware) then the object in mind (the object of perception or imagination as also that of the object of desire) is the object of use value (desired action), but perhaps also accompanied by an idea as to price or exchange value (at this stage imaginary, based upon memory and comparison) when we bring others (also imagined from memory) into the equation. The others in question are then sought out. We now have the context of exchange, the collectivity or community, society, its relations and expectations or ＆laws＊ and so some manner of famework, or ＆market＊. ＆Market＊ here means no more (and no less) than, the general aspect of exchange relations as a collective relationship - involving at least two, but always with community values implicit ＆behind＊ - so together with an awareness of certain general shared values as above purely personal use, gain or desire as constituting value alone (if we maintain that it does then we end up with no exchange, or forced seizure＃ so asserting one＊s own values, or value, above everybody else＊s). Such shared ＆values＊ would, especially in public, work to counteract monopoly or desperation as sole source of value 每 as in the case of hunger, for example 每 where very different values (a sense of fairness, say as opposed to profiteering) would result in a very different kind of ＆price＊ 每 a price that might even be ＆a gift＊. It is this collectivity or the social nature of ＆objectivity＊ (as in the sciences where ＆truth＊ is inter-subjective) that brings ＆price＊ as an actual relation in actual exchange. So moving from (subjectively desired) qualities to (objective) quantification (again, this may not need to be abstract money, countable goods, or quantities of objects will suffice).
＊Price＊ in this light also is a kind of becoming＃ as all the values governing the exchange relation (its actual context) determine the actual terms of exchange (its ＆price＊). ＆Price＊ (money, other accepted equivalent, deferred exchange or credit) as process suggests the value as something fluctuating according to the actual situation - its context determines its meaning＃ its price, and its meaning to a subject (its use value) constitute its desired quality and its quantification. The price may appear objective: but regardless of other factors, its actualisation finally rests on the desires of the two concerned (in turn conditioned by scarcity or ability to pay). The element of social desire in the equation is what is sacred＃ has sacred value＃ family, friends, education, health, ＆nation＊＃ all the forms of community identity and recognition＃ these too determine -or refuse- price＃
And the movement of the abstract market＃ (＆macro＊ economics)? It is never abstract, always part of an on-going process of boom/slump, technological development, political juncture, boycotts, credit withdrawal, or just fashion＃ (mostly, ＆understood＊ or even ＆understandable＊, only after the event＃). Likewise there is no abstract finance; useful for funding projects - the rest is speculation to be outlawed as hazardous to the social fabric＃ (based upon rent, credit and debt as a way of reallocating -read, recentralizing- wealth).
The proximity of ritual and value allows us to apply the same scale we applied to rituality, to value and values; so ranging from the everyday, relatively weak or of low value (but like weak nuclear forces and matter, making up much of our ＆reality＊ or mind as everyday cohesion) all the way to strong or intense or ＆high＊ (think ＆art＊) or sacred value or values (often accompanied by strong emotions and a sense of ＆right＊) often in fact reinforced by periodic or festive or holy ritual practice＃ In this, ritual reflects or cements or creates values from the ＆micro-adjustments＊ of the everyday to the ＆macro-frame＊ of the ceremonial (and in a society with money we spend accordingly＃). Whence the role of taxation in social or individual expenditure.
The above comments also invite a comparison of time to money, as twin, ＆necessary social fictions＊＃
＆Time＊ we may divide between: actual change, concrete cycles in process (from galactic cycles and gravity waves to quantum wave or particle ＊spin＊); subjective temporality (the eternal present, with its pasts and futures); and abstract quantification (social time, a cultural product, abstract sub-divisions overlaid onto natural cycles, which we experience as orientated around the present). Money can also be divided into: its physicality as valued object used for exchange (gold, chickens) and a pure social token (paper money or the mental or physical memory or mark of credit) with its embodied but contingent, that is ＆agreed＊, physicality or record (again, even if only in the memory). This abstraction, or agreed function, is what makes its units individually valued 每 its value in the present, to us, now (even if the use may be sometime in the future). In this sense, concrete objects and services are particular to the individual, as objects of subjective desire; of practical use, but including belonging, recognition and connection 每 in short, identity, which we may buy with the goods and services in question (life style, ＆look＊, ＆standing out＊ or conformity) or exchange through ritual exchange (identity exchange as the support for the self as ＆eternal present＊ with its, memory-based, identity propositions). These definitions are usually collected under the term ＆use value＊ (or function) and contrasted against ＆exchange value＊, an abstract quantification, but one based upon a very real society, its laws and mores＃ and a kind of social contract (＆the bearer promises to pay＃＊) or general ＆understanding＊. Exchange value is represented by money or ＆price＊ (real or virtual) and is entirely a social invention, a product of on-going interaction (when confidence runs out, when interaction stops, the currency crashes). Prices or money, as with mathematics or other formal, that is, artificial languages, also has a utility, as accounting, mapping, description, comparison and convenience. But when ＆folded＊ against itself, to make money out of money and not make services and objects (restricted to ＆refined＊ types of ＆rent＊), then dangerous＃
All of which clearly foreseen by Adam Smith in his description of the ＆first＊ bank fraud, but lost to modern ＊economists＊＃ who could not, at the time, explain 2008 (I remember scouring the pages of the Economist and other journals for a reasonable explanation and finding none 每 perhaps no one wanted to give the game away)＃ Leaving policy to the pragmatic, sensible (non-ideological and anti-neo-classical) response - in practice a kind of neo-Keynesianism.
Exchange value is clearly a social fiction (but like time and what they both share, abstract units of measure, of comparison, a very useful one). We agree to it out of convenience: and when we don＊t 每 due to loss of confidence in a currency, share, or bank (when we withdraw our desire, our collective desire, as in, no one wants it anymore)＃ it loses its value＃ it collapses. When we make things for self and others these are ＆gifts＊; gift or relationship exchange 每 with a long cycle of return (objective when we trust others to give to us in turn, or subjective as when the resultant feeling, the assertion of an identity, is our reward). When we make them for the market, these are ＆commodities＊, for ＆abstract exchange＊, for an immediate return (or an immediate promise of return); actually for a 每valueless- exchange token (credit as trust in an institution) with which we may then buy something else. ＆Objective＊ as in the sense of an agreement between plural selves (the definition of objectivity) and as (by agreement) quantifiable: subjective as when we choose to buy what we desire or need 每 what is of value to us at that moment.
Made for ourselves or friends, as ＆a gift＊, and made for others, known or abstract, for the market, as ＆a commodity＊; these relationships may of course be interchanged. Moreover they are always united in the commodity as symbolic use value (the role of our identity or values in the ostensive use value) and its exchange value (the price we are prepared to pay for this＃).
With trust or belief functioning as the ritual repetition or expenditure or exchange which asserts its value (＆forever＊, into the future) or until we no longer perform the ritual, no longer make the exchange, no longer believe in it＃ withdraw our subjective ＆identity exchange＊ from the social or objective transaction, give no privileged place in the ＆eternal present＊＃ leaving entropy to do its work of undoing, in this case, what was after all only anyway an ＆imaginary＊ structure＃
And how interesting that ＆time＊ and ＆value＊ are both human and social creations, a product of our collective creativity (product of a collective subject, or subjectivity, so object, or indeed ＆objective＊, if agreed as such). With clock time and money as the measure of these ＆objects＊. All forms of social, that is socially agreed (or imposed), objective, measures or quantification, as well as, supported by individual faith, personal desire, temporal embodiment ＊now＊ (subjective, as desire and need and temporality 每 all experienced as the ＆eternal present＊). Our desire for coherence in our relations to others, things and actions (including ourselves) again requiring fictions. And how interesting that one (time) is often thought in terms of the other (value) and vice versa; we spend time (and money) on something or someone if we value them, it expresses our subjective sense of value as also our values; and conversely ＆objective＊ value as actual price is often thought of as labour time, more concretely, how much time we need to work to earn the given quantity of value exchange equivalent (money). Or, again, how much time we spend on, or devote to something＃ (this too expresses a value, that of care or fairness＃ otherwise, value -that is how much we might pay- may equally be thought of in terms of the degree of demand, of objective need or subjective desire, or supply as monopoly or glut＃). And as we value something, so we will pay for it, its exchange value or actual price, that is, how we value our identity is shown in the commodities and (commodified) services we buy (recognition, distinction), or how much we contribute to a religion, charity or cause＃ or to family, friends, or community of identification (what we feel is really important, what we ＆hold sacred＊).
I have pointed out elsewhere that value is a relation of opposition, a relation of subject and object - including imaginary objects (and all objects 每and others- are at some stage, perceptual, mental, ＆imaginary＊＃ not least when objects of recall or memory). This relation is the result of what we call subjective and objective experience or ＆inner＊ and ＆outer＊ realms, and so is a facet of diremption. A diremption, the terms or ＆poles＊ of which, we move between frequently (oscillation). The thought of (and processes of) use and exchange equally perform the diremption as division or difference and inter-reliance or co-implication. (And we note that ＆exchange＊ must have contiguity for physical exchange to take place, ＆over a border＊, the borderlines of identity and possession, which must have a means of comparison or similitude, which in turn must be quantifiable, a product of part/whole relationships as the basis of mathematics and logic, our formal, artificial, forms of representation 每 so involving all three of our modes of meaning making, contiguity, comparison and counting - the units that make up the whole to be compared and co-exchanged＃ which entire process is first imagined in the minds of both parties 每 a process which includes self as object, and so is diremptive). But this phenomenon we call ＆diremption＊ is not simply a matter of thought or mind, at least not taken separately 每 not a simple matter of subjectivity, experienced or asserted＃ rather the place of subjectivity in all forms of representation and description＃ The difference between these terms, experience and assertion and representation and description (also glossable as present and past, or happening and happened, mind and matter, described, subject made object ＃). For it is in the four zones of human culture, in art, philosophy, the physical and the human sciences, where we find the fault-lines that show how the diremption runs through all aspects of human culture. In effect, interposing an unbridgeable fissure into the practice of each ＆one＊ (a practice which joins them, but does not unite them). So with respect to the social or human sciences, ＆use＊ is concrete, particular, contingent, contextual; the use of objects, our consumption, and the agreement to exchange objects, something for something, has its (doubled) subjective moments - as both sides decide what ＆price＊ they will pay or accept (whether in relation or at a distance 每 ＆the market＊ without an actual market). So we can see that the combination features both subject and object and is both subjective and objective, has both subjective and objective ＆moments＊ (all aspects are riven): use as desired and actualised; exchange as involving objects (even if one is deferred, lengthening the exchange cycle) and the moment of value-giving or choice. Moreover in the relations of exchange, both sides imagine the object body before them as (containing) an other, and then themselves as the other might see them 每 so bringing into play the view from inside and that from ＆from outside＊, the aspects of the diremption as inner and supposed outer points of view 每 ＆do you take me for a fool＊. The price is the value of that moment＃ in an action too, degrees of subjective desire and subjective greed will ＆distort＊ the price. As such ＆market＊ prices of ＆fixed price＊ super markets are always being adjusted according to consumer demand. A market will not give a ＆true price＊; there is no ＆true price＊ over and above that which obtains in the moment, result of a contextual nexus of forces (of physical and symbolic force, the power of laws and values), a result of the contiguity of two subjectivities even if apparently mediated by institutions and power (and finally even ＆recommended price＊ may dissolve into ＆sale price＊ 每 just as the price of fruit and fish on the market will fall). Their exchange values, then, are the result of all the values brought to the relation of exchange, together with ＆exchange value＊ as the culturally specific quantitative object medium or language used as the means of comparing objects and services as well as representing them (both desired objects in mind as in matter).
Even if the exchange is not immediate, it will function as a part of the memory (an exchange over an osmotic line of identity), and is still in this way, concrete and contextual, not ideal nor abstract - that is, nowhere＃ Adam Smith is most clear on this: the worship of the market is not science; like all worship, it is a religion 每 this is the religion of capitalism (as Smith＊s rhetorical and strategic, anti-feudal, anti-monopoly, ＆Invisible Hand＊ becomes the Invisible God of economic ideology, paid lip service to by every would be monopoly whose only aim is to ＆corner the market＊). A ＆religion＊ which augments our identifications according to nationalism and consumerism and class (or social differentiation, ＆distinction＊) so supporting or supported by the ＆three levels＊ of modern identity (the meta unit, the internal sub-division and the self, or geographical place, social place and the self-assertion of the individual as place of consciousness 每 inflected by gender and generation to be sure), which three have taken over from the traditional distinctions of identity as religion, caste and family (or generational gender role). Even as it, ＆The Market＊, like all past and most present religions, is supported by law and the State＃ (see also my articles on New York/Manhattan and Capri in (Visiting) The Places of the Dead: The Philosophy of Travel for more on capitalism and religion).
Note on ＆fairness＊. I have mentioned ＆fairness＊ a couple of times in the context of the labour theory of value, posing the question: is the labour theory of value (an intuitive key stone of early economics, of Adam Smith as of Karl Marx) really just a matter of a sense of fairness＃? An expression where we show that we value the other＊s time and all that this implies. And here we must note, yet again, that value is subjective＃ and changeable, our everyday experiencing and choosing is always also an expression of valuing, of our values (along with aesthetics and morality). This subjective and contingent origin of value also subsumes (as the subject always contains the object) whatever objective claims are made via the sense of exchange value, nevertheless the exchange takes place between two actual parties who will exchange according to need, desire, and wealth or according to scarcity or plenty or even to relations of force: the objective side, the social aspect, is a generalisation and so a fiction＃ Redeemable perhaps by statistics and empirical description: but as aggregates, just so many guesses or biases＃ (and the most ＆general laws＊, pure guesswork＃ or asserted belief). It＊s not that there is not an object side 每 it＊s just that the object language in question (economics) is almost totally unreliable. And its main fault has been the disavowal of the subject side (the denial of the diremption in the social or human sciences), the elision of actual embodied humans in process (whence the greater descriptive efficacy of anthropology). Including when the subject side has distorted the discipline in order to excuse the channeling of funds to a minority with monopoly advantages 每 indeed a reward for labour time, but one that has created nothing (or much less than it would abrogate 每 so showing the constitutive relation of power to value)... Fairness is a feeling subjective and, when shared with others with which we have a bond, usually much in presence in our mutual behaviour. With those we do not have a bond with ＃ well that depends＃ some extend community (hospitality), others deny it, all the better to rob, steal and exploit＃ So in fairness to each other (and not as some would-be font of objectivity 每＆in the final instance＊- the ＆essence＊ behind the Platonic curtain) we note ＆time how long＊ and perhaps effort and skill, often putting aside desire and monopoly (demand and supply) in return for our sense of community (our connection to the ＆object＊ we call ＆others＊ or to which we believe we belong) and our sense of moral worth (our subjective reward or the sense of our identity as a ＊good person＊ doing ＆the right thing＊ 每 as we see ourselves as others might see us 每 the inner moral sense as another reward of the diremption).
Money and markets in all this are human created means＃ a means to an end＃ not ends in themselves, and certainly not a-historical absolutes to be worshipped. Both as social products are amenable to social agency 每 a change of values.
That ＆credit＊ or ＆debt＊ (extended exchange) comes before (from gift to quantification to ＆tab＊ and ＆reckoning-up＊) and after money (from objects with another use value to paper promises to virtual ＆promissory notes＊) should be no surprise＃ For anyone who has bothered to familiarize themselves with well over a century＊s worth of data＃ (see Mauss, ＆Essays on the Gift＊, for example). Or bothered to note the survival of gift type relations in modern economies＃ including in the fusion of identity exchange with the commodity (sometimes oddly called ＆commodity fetishism＊ 每 an issue surely separable from ＆reification＊ or confusing relations for things).
Social fictions (or cultural creations), the web of quantification, the spell woven by money and mathematics and time, are abstract measures, abstract relations, on all counts. Pure quantity in mathematics, plus the ＆now moment＊, gives us the nexus of lived temporality and ＆time＊ (the quantification necessary for ＆time how long＊ and ＆time when＊). Pure quantity as money, plus the ＆now moment＊, gives us value (from the identification of need or desire, ＆now＊, or for the future, as use value to the ＆how much＊ of exchange value - ＆time when＊ answers the question of when the exchange is to be concluded＃ ＆time how long＊, the question of how long we need to work to make the price of the exchange 每 whether we can, or want to, afford it). A basic unit in mathematics as in time (＆1＊ or ＆a second＊) may offer more precision as compared to the actual rhythm or cycle or duration in question (just ＆how long＊ is our ＆now moment＊?), but otherwise is abstract enough to allow division to infinity... However, matter does not fit into this, not even quantum ＆matter＊. Neither, (as noted) does the ＆instant＊, the ＆now＊ of human temporality (conveniently glossed as ＆this second＊ in terms of time as measure), both are convenient fictions. The moment cannot be abstracted from the process, not least from the process of self (the ＆now moment＊): the mathematical unit cannot be abstracted from the flow of space time (with which it is always in comparison) - always something is missing, left out (rounded up or rounded down). Process in mathematics (its quantitative description or ＆picturing＊) comes back as function (relating two aspects in motion or in the process of change) or via logic using the model provided by the law of non-contradiction as a model for alternation (A and not A, recurring, recursive, but counted). In ＆time＊ we have quantitative measure of ＆instants＊ and ＆now＊＃ social time and its relation to temporality, often called objective and subjective time, however ＆objective time＊ here actually means measured time, or, more precisely, abstract measure in comparison to natural cycles or events, so made from two parallel series (truly objective, to do with the object, would be the actual processes of nature, matter, cycles, all the ＆repeated＊ rhythms that range from galactic to geological to human, right down to quantum wave and spin). And we might add: just as the self moves ＆in time＊ and ＆as temporality＊, so in the subject we have the object (precisely as in ＆in time＊ and in our temporality, ＆now＊ as measured and observed and as experienced) which may even be taken for ＆time＊ itself (for apart from, or framed in, present temporality, time can only be remembered, projected, or imagined ＆as if＊ viewed＃ from elsewhere, with the ＊eternal present＊ as outside time, as ＆eternity＊ 每 a generalisation which is entirely imaginary and as contradictory as it is useful). All these are modalities of the subject in relation to (its) object, (including ＆object as other＊, self as other or as object, self imagined as for others or as other for self). All alternation as process＃ ＆In reality＊, dirempt and oscillating 每 ＆in process＊, on-going, ＆Becoming＃＊. When isolated, represented, ＆reified＊, become ＆object＊, become ＆being＊ (or ＆Being＊), then a fiction to join the other fictions＃ often necessary fictions to be sure＃ as held by actual subjects＃
All object (object language) description as requiring subjective origin and repetition, till something else arrives＃ So again the oscillation typical of diremption (typical of bumping into the processes of the real) kicks in＃
This, apparently vague, emphasis on process, on becoming, on rituality＃ in practice, returns agency and action, and subjectivity as self-made (＆though not always consciously), and as collectively made＃ (and remade＃ as we live＃ while we live). So re-makeable, otherwise＃ (consciously).
What if we were to go beyond the subjective side of the diremption and examine the objective or larger or external side as constitutive of human culture? Well, first-off, in one sense, we cannot, because ＆finally＊ the now, the subject, the ＆eternal present＊ contains the object (as representation in process in our subjective process of experience 每 what we see, hear, taste, smell, feel - and fixed or replayed, as memory, what we remember, and may then project onwards, as ＆the future＊). In absolute terms there is no ＆beyond＊ to human experience or imagining (the nearest thing to an ＆existential metaset＊). The subject is its embodiment or actually existing, certainly ＆actually-experienced＊ container＃ The oscillation due to the diremption also requires continual return to the subject side or the subjective point of view of a particular ＆eternal present＊＃ ＆Objectivity＊, is something else, it exists on another level, that of inter-subjectivity＃ agreement between witnesses.
(As are the objective ＆laws＊ that are said to govern ＆it＊; social process requires ever new descriptions＃)
And it is this objectivity that we use to create our ＆four zones＊ of culture. Four genres of reality or four regions of description and expression we negotiate collectively, if institutionally, across varied and unequal distributions of power, and into which, or across which, the diremption extends, this gives us the arts and philosophy, the physical sciences and the social sciences. Among the latter is economics＃ extracted from society or ＆the Social＊, and so itself a ＆restricted economy＊, excluding the subject-ive side of human experience to be sure (despite an interesting attempt to return it as ＆marginal utility＊) as also the particular and embodied aspects of human exchange relations, of our inter-connectivity＃ And so leaving anthropology to return ＆the missing link＊ to actually existing humans (as in research in religion and economics, or nationalism and economics, ideology and economics, or ＆magic＊ and economics 每 leading one to suspect that the epoch of ＆political economy＊ never actually ended＃).
One might well say: measure what you can (econometrics) and on the rest be silent＃
But are we not still thinking with, living with, limiting ourselves to＃ a restricted definition of value. Indeed a ＆restricted economy＊ of value＃ One that not only leaves out the production of things we make and value but do not sell (that we sometimes value the most) but also the reproduction of ourselves, people. This, traditionally, was women＊s work, from child-bearing to nurture, from baby-sitting to rearing, a culture of care extended also to the care giving of the ＆men at work＊. So it would appear that the support for the whole restricted domain (＆the economy＊) is from without, from another realm of human activity - is left ＆outside＊ of the calculation (or the wage is the ＆price＊ of the worker＊s reproduction 每 presumably including ＆his＊ family). This whole process is reliant on women＊s work or labour or time, or their value＃ a value elided. And when finally quantified, commodified, brought ＆inside＊ and ＆rewarded＊ by a fiscal remuneration 每 underpaid. Moreover, there is an even more extended context to ＆labor＊ or production, what is taken and what is ＆given back＊ as waste (and ＆where from＊, and ＆where to＊), a ＆general economy＊ - indeed, for now all is taken into account＃ And our view of value is a little different, less masculine, less ＆workerist＊/＊productionist＊ (ideas too are the fruit of labor) even less sapiens-centric＃ For a simple, naïve (or self-interested) labour theory of value devalues the context, our context, our environment＃ was the product of a severely restricted and artificial, that is, legally reinforced mode of exploitation＃ (of humans as reduced to ＆wage slavery＊ and debt, and for the environment, two hundred and fifty years of increasing despoliation and pollution＃).
But values change.
Temporality, diremption, oscillation and ＆value＊＃
I noted above how the present determines the value accorded to an object or service (this latter includes ＆human labor＊, that is human activity of all types, the objects and services, that is, the culture we produce). Decision making, applying values, takes place in the present and is notoriously subjective＃ However the past makes the present＃ (yet when defining ＆value＊, or rather price, only selected bits of the past are selected as apposite, the bits said to be ＆economic＊, ＆costs of production＊, for example). But this (objective) observation, perhaps as part of a process of (subjective) self-reflection or ＆stepping-back＊ and ＆picturing＊, that is imagining, a prior process, does not determine value: if anything the reference back (past as temporality, our memory as recall, remembering) is almost irrelevant. Rather it is the future, our present picture of what comes next, what we want next＃ that determines the value of something (or someone) for us - that determines what we would give for it, that determines exchange value or price. The context here is not just what we are doing now, but what we are doing with an eye to the future＃ For the ＆time＊ here under consideration is that of our temporality, always concrete, ＆in＊ the present and including its oscillation between (or containing) two ＆other＊ poles, the past and the future (this is speaking experientially; in terms of the human as object, of ＆mind＊ as ＆matter＊, they are the same, the future is the past projected forwards, a repetition of something based on what happened before＃). In either case, however, we have the experience (and observation or self-awareness) of the oscillation due to the subject/object, from inside and ＆from outside＊, set of relations, whether present or imagined, as present in our lived temporality (with the possibility of the past, including past self, imagined as if ahead, yet to come, as ＆the future＊, our thought object, perhaps as an imagined external ＆point of view＊ as we picture what we intend to do). So the past (as the history of the object or services in question) does not enter the equation unless part of the present (our past as our desire and values 每 in consonance or in contradiction) which is conducted with an eye to what happens next 每 our sense of the future. Others may quote facts at us till they are blue in the face 每 if we don＊t want to pay a given price 每 then we won＊t. Here object relations as memory, recall and recognition are present in the on-going frame of the ＆eternal present＊ and also projected as the future. In effect, past and future both (or ＆as one＊ if they are thought of as ＆the same＊, or as ＆other＊ to the present) oscillate with the present (or in the present). The difference of the type of the memory or projection is probably quantitative, a matter of intensity and duration, as, at one end, a barely recognised flicker (with a bottom line in unconscious recognition as the work of memory or predictability as part of any on-going action 每 in turn again based upon expectation, fed by memory) or as a longer duration or insistence - even persistence (memories we cannot ＆shake＊, in the case of regret and mourning or anxiety and planning). Temporality (as the point of view of our experience) therefore also suggests that value as experience does not depend on the past as a privileged moment in production but rather as (the past as forming) the present as site of activation of values in the context of desire (or need) and the future. The past has gone and the new situation features only the values that persist as the ＊culture＆ of the person in question, in the situation in question＃ and these all may be in thrall to the future＃ (all in turn in thrall to a changing situation＃).
As we can clearly see in the case of money as credit or debt (or the fact of debt itself: future payment, mortgages, ＆arrears＊) and in investment, and expectation as key to use (value) and return (exchange value as ＆capital＊) as in ＆technology＊ as an aspect of this 每 of putting aside immediate ＆return＊ or results for the future, because expecting more efficiency than available in the present and the past that it is soon to become＃
So the subjective, or subject side of experience in the present (value as due to values and desire and means of exchange as context now) joins the objective, or object side or history as the past (gone never to return, regardless of theories that feature ＆feedback loops＊ or the magical insistence of ＆cause＊ in cause and effect, genealogy as historicism) with the objective situation as ＆context now＊, to determine the value of the object or service in question (and so its price＃ if any). If the time involved in the production or finding, or personal history in the case of service provided, may count as naught depending on the values of the one who wants to buy and the one who wishes to sell (as degrees of desire and desperation) and the laws governing the situation (both as custom and as legal precedent), then the future as the place of the use of the object or service in question 每and the use of the payment made for it- most certainly does (the other two aspects of human temporal experience as dream and the non-place of ＆eternity＊, play other roles, the first not relevant, except perhaps as daydream as a function of desire, the second, ＆eternity＊ as one basis of the law and customs and values in question which we regard as sacrosanct＃ so as binding＃).
Within these rhythms the place or moment of value is still the present. The present is the time of value, of the valuing, with the next relevant temporality being the future, the present of its expected actualization or use (or its continuation as in the case of ritual and identity). The value of time, while only ＆actualisable＊ in the present, again is in debt to the temporality of the future, it is a gift of the future (as well as gift for the future), which site of actualization, imagined in the present, gives it its worth (this does not mean that objective factors, aspects of the past described, held or asserted as relevant and perhaps quantified, do not play a role, rather that these are always filtered through the prism of the present and so always through the subjective experience of concrete actors＃ finally oneself＃ ＆now＊ 每 as such they may or may not be held as relevant＃ switching to the objective pole, then, we can see that the relevant frame is not some abstracted ＆economic process＊, but the whole process of a society ＆deciding＊ what it needs to make - again value becomes a function of values＃).
The ＆buying＊ of an identity in the future by means of ritual exchange (ranging from the role of self-image in commodity purchase to festive expenditure to more destructive forms of sacrificiality or subject-assertion), what I prefer to call ＆identity exchange＊, is a good example of the use of that other (Absolute Other) kind of time, ＆eternity＊ 每 as the imaginary guarantor, or ＆place＊ of guarantee, of the ritual transaction. The guarantor of our values is always elsewhere (in practice, like the making of things and services, a product of a community or society). Interestingly, the other time, that of ＆dream＊ (sometimes present as reverie or delirium, in certain contexts evoking Myth) is often also evoked in this context 每 so putting all forms of temporality into play simultaneously.
Just as we see the past, as bodily need and ac-cultured form of desire immediately translated, in the present, into the future, as locus of imagined aim and satisfaction 每 a desire (with recognition, distinction and anxiety) found in dream (as in the imaginings of daydream) and as regulated and supported by the belief systems ＆grounded＊ in ＆eternity＊ (be it ＆Nature＊, the heavens, universals or some manner of universalized personification＃).
Time and temporality, objective ＆social time＊ and the subjective experience of time, the past and its descriptions (and future intensions) and the present with its perceptions and assertions, all feature the divisions of the diremption and so the motions of its unity as a process, a ＆unity in difference＊ - its oscillation.
Which is where we began. Internal view and external view, or the view from within and our view of ourselves as imagined from without, as others might see us. But this later is still the view from within, (like past and future, also featuring other times and places, all framed within the present); respectively the description from within and the description from without; so respectively offering recursive contradiction (self-reference) and metaset contradiction (the picture from ＆outside＊) in both words (logic) and symbols (quantitative formalisation) - echoing the limitations and alternations of our visual imaginary. And how intriguing that both ＆realms＊ (verbal and visual) not only are divided in themselves by ＆inner＊ and ＆outer＊ modes, each having two levels or layers (inner or outer description or vision), two ＆points of view＊ which we then pass between in permanent oscillation, but that also between these two realms there is also a similar situation regarding the complementary relation of visualising verbal or quantitative description and vice versa (no one can see exactly what I see, without ＆standing in my shoes＊ but we can understand the verbal and formal modes of description offered). So offering a difference analogous to that of the present/past, self/other, subject /object, and inner/outer distinctions or alternations. Wittgenstein, in the Philosophical Investigations, notes how the visual, ＆the picture＊ is always needed to complete the logical or verbal (a ＆picture＊ we may describe in natural language). Whilst Gödel offers in his theorem two levels or parallels which permit creativity to augment, to add to, and so transgress, any attempts at restrictive, rigorous, formal closure, as if the restricted formal language cannot forget its origins in natural language (origins which come back to haunt it) and as the user, the subject, by the very act of using (similar to the ＊use/mention＊ distinction), operates on a different level from the formal or object language 每 interposing picture and natural language with their openness＃ so adding something that had been, that was supposed to have been, excluded＃
Where there are two levels, two ＆sides＊, there will always be contradiction, aporia and paradox, also there will also be their complementary relation, their alternation, their oscillation. So, for example, in mathematics we have the two minimal terms of the function f(x), and verbally we have subject-predicate, the minimal ＆differences＊ that make up, respectively, formal languages and natural languages, often present as the difference between specialist object languages and everyday subject or natural languages. And the ＆diremption＊ or ＆being human＊, more precisely, the process of human becoming, suggests that there will always be two levels to any phenomenon, activity or experience＃
So to the web of fictions in which we have enrapt ourselves; and now, rapt, decline to believe in our creative presumption 每 or rather believe only in their object-hood＃.
Once more on ＆time＊ and ＆money＊＃
If we recapitulate our three levels of time＃
First (as experience) there is our subjectivity ＆in＊ or better as temporality, home of the eternal present and also to the other experiences of time (past, future, dream, ＆eternity＊). Here, we experience our feelings towards objects and others, to what we do and who we meet - as in a good or bad experience of a place, or a situation, of work or of others - and our values, at once rational and emotional＃ all are first qualitative, then quantitative in intensity (we can compare them)＃
Then, objectively: that is, as ＆pictured＊ from the outside as narrative, as a ＆time line＊, the passage of an object or other (then, if collectively agreed as real, as true, as＃ ＆objective＊) 每 but not of ourselves, for ourselves we have, we are, temporality (again, unless we imagine ourselves from without＃). This is ＆time＊, or ＆social time＊, more precisely, measure, even more precisely, a matter of comparison - of abstract quantities matched with real processes＃ a ＆ruler＊ paralleling or laid over natural rhythms, cycles and periods (into which they then must fit). The designated quantities (second, minute, hour＃) meant to measure and coordinate with real processes, become their representation, and thus a ＆thing in itself＊ rather than a ＆thing made by us＊, and an abstract, imaginary ＆thing＊ at that＃ This ＆time＊, called ＆social time＊ by Norbert Elias, is matter of cultural specificity; different cultures do, or did, this very differently. Now we all use the same ＊universal＊ measure - giving us the illusion that this measure IS time 每 again the process moves from the cycles and rhythms of things to that of an abstract measure, taken as something real (for a good collection of ＆other ways＊ of ＆doing time＊, see, Anthony Aveni, Empires of Time).
Then, finally, we have the real processes of the physical world, each with its own speed of change or entropy, its own patterns of repetition or cyclicity, its rhythms or frequency＃ in the world of which the artificial ＆instant＊ counts for as little as equally abstract reductions, sub-divisions (or extensions, projections) to infinity＃
Now the relation of temporality to real change, to real things or objects, is our perception and experience of this change, including the experience of self, including the imagining of the self as other 每 as someone no longer in temporality but as if seen from outside in social time or on a ＆time line＊ (and already the diremption is here). Likewise the oscillation of present to past and future, to memory and to projection 每 our archive and our oracle. In this we too become objects (to our subject＃). In the present we witness change; in memory we remember change or make comparison with the ＆now moment＊ 每 perhaps then making predictions (from crossing the road, to making a date, or choosing an investment). In the world of the object, some changes are slow, some fast. In dream, things are radically otherwise 每 general exchangeability reigns. And our imaginary notion of ＆outside of time＊ is where we use ＆eternity＊ as the place of a-historical stability 每 a fiction, like ＆time＊ itself (again, there is no ＆time＊ abstracted from the process of real change - so measured time is simply an overlay＃ not a thing＃ its ＆outside＊, an ＆Absolute Elsewhere＊, or Absolute Other, is a yet further abstraction).
If we look at the relation of this ＆overlay＊ of measure (often called ＆objective time＊) to the experience of self or temporality and to the world of real processes, then we find＃ Regarding the relation to real process, an infinite variety of different rhythms homogenized＃ From quantum to gravity wave, what is ＆an instant＊ here? ＃ and what of geo-bio cycles＃ all with no relation to abstract quantity, even if these quantities were once originally based upon natural phenomena, the phases of the moon and months, the diurnal cycle and the ＊24 hour day＊, the four seasons, the equinoxes and one year＃ (but into which they do not precisely fit). Typically two abstract or imposed ＆instants＊, of no value in themselves, are mapped onto the duration of the process in question (the specific ＆place＊ where the instant meets an otherwise indivisible reality is always a matter of convenience 每 if the calculation works then we do not need to bother about the remaining issues).
If we look at the relation of this ＆overlay＊ of measure to ＆the instant＊ as a point representing the ＆now＊ of subjective temporality, then we find we have yet another unmeasurable abstraction, a ＆measure＊ or ＆point＊ separable only in the imagination (again convenience rules). Our ＆now moment＊ is the instant that slots us into a place in measured space-time, the intersection of quantitative grids＃ (again the issue is one of co-ordination 每 and for what end＃ and in how much detail, what degree of accuracy). However, regarding temporality or subjectivity and ＆objective＊ or ＆social time＊, we also have a variety of mismatches and distortions available, ranging from day dream and boredom to ecstasy and loss of self, all refuse to fit the clockwork ticking of regular measure. Ecstasy, or just being preoccupied, means time moves fast, boredom means it moves slowly 每 in experiential terms, the clocks ticks on as before ＃unchanging in speed＃ When we are not aware of time passing it passes quickly (as if ＆in an instant＊): but when we are aware of time passing 每 it will not＃ the slowness of the watched kettle is legendary. Time we value goes fast: that we dislike, de-value, as in waiting, expectation, a situation of discomfort, goes slow＃ Except this is not ＆time＊; it is the mapping or comparison of experience onto clock-time. The clash of subjective temporality and objective ＆time＊ is one where it is not the ＆time＊ that is ＆valued＊, but what we are concretely doing (real process plus degree of awareness)＃ if absorbed, there is ＆no time＊ and so we are surprised by the speed of its passing. If we are waiting for something or someone, or just plain bored; imagining (that is comparing in our memory) all the things we could be doing that we have previously done and enjoyed 每 then we are bored and the clock moves ever more slowly. Awareness of time is awareness of the passage of the clock 每 the comparison here is between the present and the future, but these are not only different levels of temporal experience (so one kind of diremption) but also our subjective temporality, ＆the eternal present＊ and ＆object time＊, represented by the quantitative object language as measured by the clock (another aspect of the diremption). The result being that objective clock time is distorted in our experience, stretched ever longer, every second dragged out beyond its proper length, so we feel, as we compare to the moment we wish would arrive＃ for it is not ＆time＊ as such of which we are aware (this does not exist) the ＆change＊ here at issue is the change on the face of the clock (quantitative ＆social time＊) and its relation to our required moment in the future. Furthermore, our temporality oscillates between now and then, our present and our required end, but the clock before us will not move in this way nor alter its speed, its stubborn regularity is, as a result, rendered ever ＆longer＊- slow indeed, compared to the rapid oscillation of our present and our awaited end (our imagination of our awaited end in the present). Our future in the present clashes with our perception of the clock, which the more we focus upon it ＆now＊, the slower it appears to move, the further away seems the end in mind. The result: temporality distorts clock time in our perception (for more of this analysis and the metaphysical abuse of ＆everyday time＊, see my article on Heidegger and boredom).
For the moment ＆in time＊ we value is elsewhere, and the clock time represents its absence, where we outside of a station waiting room, say waiting on the platform, or otherwise away from the sight of a clock, we might be distracted by the sights and sound of the scene around us (and be further distracted by the associations they evoke), even the others in the waiting room might be a welcome source of distraction: but the focus on this clock is a constant reminder of the absence of the awaited moment - again an issue of comparison (of two different levels forced together - so again the process of oscillation).
We should note, moreover, then when in the course of the above, we use terms like, ＆convenience＊, ＆end＊, ＆actual use＊ or ＆result＊, then we are really talking about desire 每 and what could be more subjective (or＃ in terms of the stimulus coming from the body and or memory, taken -by a subject- as object, what could be more＃ objective＃). For it is desire, what we want of something, that apportions the degrees of the calibration 每 the terms of the ＆object language＊.
And much the same is true of ＆money＊ as has just been said for ＆time＊＃
The experience of exchange is more immediately present than that of measured ＆time＊ (again, unless clock-watching), the physical presence of one is contrasted to the absence of the other. Whether as the exchange of money (or other exchange equivalents, including the verbal agreement to pay in the future) or objects or services (or indeed symbols, or communication) an exchange is normally a meeting of two sides, proximate or at a distance, real or virtual (real or imaginary as in an imagined communication, as when we ＆talk to ourselves＊), a transaction that has its moment, the moment of exchange, in the present. Regarding the role of money and exchange (regardless of actual time of payoff), we are more quickly aware of its social that is ＆contractual＊ origins as a convenience born of co-ordination - here the co-ordination of objects and services - not just in space-time, as coordinating positions (the role of maps and ＆time＊), but for the purposes of exchange. Both ＆time＊ and ＆money＊ are facilitators of co-ordination (of co-incidence and exchange). Otherwise, the relation of ＆time＊ to ＆money＊ as parallel fictional entities seems to work in opposite ways. The more aware we are of money, or whatever exchange equivalent or means of exchange, the more we seem to value it, the more it seems to be worth (the more ＆it means to us＊); the less aware, the less we value it, the less it is worth 每 until its value collapses＃ and exchange is refused or otherwise made impossible. Whilst with ＆time＊ as discussed above, it is the activity we value, that ＆we value＊, that we miss, and so are unhappy at its absence (＆time＊ appears ＆to fill the gap＊): otherwise we are ＆lost＊ in the activity we are engaged in＃ as ＆time＊ is put aside and 每in our temporality- does not exist.
We might say that in matters of exchange (rather than co-ordination of place in ＆time＊), that is, the co-ordination of objects or services for exchange, the role of money is like that of time in the description given above; that is, ＆money＊ replaces ＆time＊, as means of coordination (just as the price, in money or exchange value, replaces time as labour time - money spent replaces time spent＃ in ＆both directions＊, in the making and in the earning＃). The means of exchange requires the means of ＆spatio-temporal location＊: measured time is required so that we may meet to exchange by means of money.
If now we posit three types of exchange, or, more specifically, relations to ＆money＊, associated with the three types of ＆time＊ (temporal, social, process), which also therefore correlate with subject, measure and object, then, we have a set of relationships that looks like this＃ First, in terms of experience, we have use value as subjective (the desire, need of the subject, present in the temporality of the ＆eternal present＊ as experience and as ＆future object＊ of consumption) with the use value of ＆money＊ as facilitating exchange, coordinating objects - with the term ＆money＊ becoming ever more abstract as digital forms of exchange equivalent or accounting take over. Second, the relation to a real object or service as aim or ＆object＊, which is possessed or (more likely) controlled by someone else with whom we will co-ordinate in ＆object, measured or social time＊ 每 this transaction too may be seen as increasingly taking place in digital space, in tandem with some manner of algorithm (if there is a ＆real owner＊, then the use value for the object is, or may be, may become, its exchange value) 每 in all this the object or service is a slice or period of process ＆cut out＊ from its context by some manner of desire or need. Lastly, we have the means of exchange, that is, the relations of the two terms above coordinated by exchange value (means, medium as measure or ＆money＊) as they are coordinated by means of ＆social time＊ in terms of co-incidence in time and space (this type of exchange would be accomplished by ＆gift exchange＊ in a tribal ＆debt economy＊ or between intimates or peers or, conversely, as a marker or assertion of hierarchy in all social forms). So regarding the relationship of social time and money, we have the meeting of two forms of quantification (three, if we include the quantified grids we use to map space).
Yet we must immediately note that as the product of a relationship, it is our values that govern both our relations with others and with objects (our environment) as with the exchange process itself. These values are culturally and historically specific and often incommensurable or in conflict (morality and gain, Family versus State). Underlying all sense of communal or shared values, what we find is a kind of ＆time＊ extended beyond everyday temporality into a sense of the generally ＆right way＊ to do things 每 values are felt to be beyond contingency. The use of ＆time＊ here in this way may at first sight seem strange. Yet if we take a closer look we see that this relation of morally correct or adequate action is imagined ＆as if＊ outside, ＆as if＊ looking at the action or transaction from ＆elsewhere＊. Now this is a function of two kinds of temporality: a function of the future as the imagined transaction ＆to come＊; and a function of the illusion of the ＆eternal＊ borrowed from the eternal present 每 in fact not temporality or ＆time＊, but defined against these, as ＆outside time＊. Yet still part of our temporal apparatus 每 and a crucial one at that. Part of our ＆species being＊ as such (not part of our species becoming because ＆being＊ -what we think we are- is an entity requiring ＆fixing＊ by reference to eternity, just as the entropy of becoming is ＆fixed＊ by rituality). In logical terms, we have the illicit swerve into the metaset, as we reference values felt to be universal, eternally valid or ＆above the moment＊ (intuitively a-historical, to be applied to the things we hold sacred). Equally, with ＆money＊, what we have is exchange value, extended beyond first hand, face to face relationships (where gift and debt and reckoning-up type relationships may prevail). Extended, again, into an ＆as if viewed from outside＊, kind of abstraction 每 ＆the market＊ viewed as eternal truth, universal and, yes, as sacred (the deification of the ＊invisible hand＊). So ＆time＊ and money＊ too are the fruit of relation (ships) which, despite their presence as quantification, nevertheless require values rooted ＆elsewhere＊. Both working, ＆designed＊, evolved, to work, in an extended field, where their extension beyond ＆the eternal present＊, beyond first-hand experience, requires the borrowing of the ＆sense＊ of ＆eternity＊ from the eternal present, as their ＆foundation＊, their ever absent guarantor (＆fixed＊, because ＆outside＊ of history). Just as we all believe or intuitively feel (almost regardless of what our rational minds tell us 每 indeed often bending reason to this belief) that our values are in some way, ＆universal＊, supra-historical, non-contingent, ＆of value＊ beyond the moment or culture in which they are embedded, as possessing ＆right＊ for＃ ＆an eternity＊.
The absent foundation of values is extended into money and time too, enlisted as their support... ＆beyond time＊＃＃
Two abstract or abstracted putative ＆universals＊ or even materialised (＆reified＊) as ＆things＊ (both generalized and reified 每 abstract and concrete, both ＆inside and outside＊)＃ but simply, just means of coordination, two measures, themselves coordinated＃ (where and when we exchange/d x for y) as ＆time when＊, and ＆time how long＊ regarding the process of exchange, and ＆how much＊ we exchanged for a given object or service. And if the service was work, and the object was made by us, then the question of ＆how long＊ now refers not to the length of the transaction, but the transaction as including the time ＆how long＊ to make and ＆how much＊ (given the object or service is adequate)＃ Again the two co-ordinations (of time and money) do not imply equivalence (although it is easy to see why early economists equated the two). It is the quality of the object or service that is being paid for, not the quantity of time (＆though of course the quality may be function of this).
Two co-ordinations. Both often guaranteed by law as much as by custom. Between them mapping out our lives. Mapping out our position, our ＆place＊ geographic and social, and what we are doing, making and exchanging, whether, things, services, greetings, gifts, or exchange and ritual (＆identity exchange＊). Exchanging things and services, some of which are symbols, ideas, information, all according to our habits and values＃ Doing what we value and trying to avoid what we don＊t - according to assorted values (not necessarily consistent＃).
Things we want to avoid. Exploitation as suffering and being cheated＃, unfair wages, restricted access to ＆the market＊＃ but the labour market as ＆fixed＊, or rule governed, but by biased laws or the law maker＊s biased interpretations＃ (＆the market＊ as the object of definition of a few). All redeemable by negotiation? By a change of values?
Making and doing things in time, for sale as price, is not labour time as value, but the co-ordination of object (or service) and use and (means of) exchange＃
Coming to grips with ＆labour time＊, as a real factor in the process of making value, neither to be ignored nor deified: finally it must be read as one factor among many＃ For if there is no privileged relation of ＆labour time＊ to price or exchange, yet there is a moral link＃ and perhaps an ideal linkage too＃ in both cases as ＆fairness＊ (perhaps, speaking ideally, with a place in Utopia). Actually, Marx is about buying the time, the ability to do something (including sometimes the quantification of the result as ends or objects), as with slavery, debt-repayment labour, serfdom, corvee and wage labour, in all cases for an end not belonging to the doer＃ but to be possessed and used by someone else＃ Yet in a mass society and mass market some kind of wage labour may be the fairest way of rewarding necessary work: call it salary or recompense or reward as you will, any way the transfer of some manner of exchangeable token 每 a ＆debt＊ token to be paid in exchange for required objects and services (the fairness lies in the conditions or context of labour and the reward＃). Otherwise ＆labour time＊ = time of doing (＆time how long＊ as combined with the required end 每 and already we have a caveat, the object, in both sense of the term, is what counts＃ and not only the object as ＆real thing＊, but as ＆object for others＊). So as we are always ＆doing＊ something; the issue is making something, doing something, for somebody else (to give, to buy, or to sell), but we take different times to do the same thing, and the ＆time taken＊ is not the end product or object (think quality check, think ＆piece work＊). Yet it is this object 每the object of labour- and its use value that are what is required＃ In other words, the object is just an object without desire. Observing ＆time how long＊ is a polite nicety, a nod in the direction of fairness＃ If badly made or not according to specifications, then not wanted＃ regardless of time and energy spent 每 clearly it is the object (or end) and then the variety of factors that constitute its ＆marketability＊ that are the crux of the issue. Indeed, the price on ＆the market＊, that catch-all concept encompassing a multi-causal situation, encompasses a plenitude of contributing factors: desire, need, or utility, including self-image (symbolic exchange or symbolism as utility); means of payment together with ＆why selling＊, availability and degree of desire for sale (from lackadaisical to desperation), then there are also laws and customs together with the custom of appearance; the operation of secular laws and of intuitively felt ＆Law＊ as the subjective presence of semi-sacred values. All these (and more) ＆determine＊ this fluid thing, the price of exchange＃ (the ＆market price＊) for it is what it is as it is done＃ (context is meaning, and ＆the meaning＊ of the exchange is its ＊price＊ 每 the rationale or meaning for the participants is their individual use-value 每 with the whole process as mediated by laws, expectations and cultural values＃).
In the end, ＆labour time＊ may be at is most present, most felt, and, therefore, most subjective, here and now, and also at, at the same time, its most objective, as influencing our relations with objects and others, as when we must buy what we need or want＃ and (other factors, rent, or shares as income may come into play) we must exchange according to what we earn (＆according to our means＊). This is the true presence of labour time in our everyday lives (as true of salary as of wage, of piece work as of waiting hours in ＆maintenance＊ or in the office, or say of firemen and their white collar staff), the presence of the pay we receive and that we must use to buy what we need or want within the said amount＃ (and then there is credit＃). And again we might note, that it is not necessary to actually labour in the ＆labour time＊ to be paid for it＃ (again the examples of office longeurs, much managerial bureaucracy, and those ＆on call＊). If it is our wages or salary that gives us the means of exchange (and this is surely the fairest way to apportion socially necessary work and pay, its reward) then this is where the labour theory of value has concrete sense and concrete application (and not the posing of some abstract ＆social＊ essence)＃ This is the realm of the producer as consumer＃ their ＆time＊ quantified and the means of purchase, ＆money＊ received, likewise quantified 每 the key exchange relation of our lives, tempered, to be sure, by pleasure and vocation, but still the same 每 what we have to do to get what we want. Historically, this relation has also been much tempered by violence, by physical and legal coercion: that economic coercion may also be a violence is a matter of the relation of efficiency to fairness 每 the balance struck a matter for politics. The matter of our future.
You may say that the market determines price as pay; the reply would be that this is again too abstract; for example, if we value a certain kind of work, and require better workers (or indeed mangers), then we up the pay over the ＆market rate＊＃ by attracting those better workers we have changed the market price＃ in the real world this is how ＆markets＊ work＃ they too are concrete processes＃ Price here is subject to social value 每 that is ＆our＊ values. Again contrast ＆market＊ and ＆social market＊ societies, say the USA and Denmark, and note which is felt to be ＆fairer＊＃ (and where more people are happier).
Afterword. Distance as one key to understanding.
First, second and third hand experience?
First, second, and third person relations?
Close, as within our temporality (as first-hand experience of first and second person relations), of friends, family, those nearby, our intimates, part of our lived, perceived, cycles and our position in them＃ made up of the ＆time of day＊, and our interactions＃ gifts and favours (and duties). Distance, however, requires the coordination of measured ＆time＊ and some manner of measured token, ＆money＊, for the coordination of place-time, people and objects - for meeting and for exchange (which, in the absence of, usually cursory, ＆meeting＊ remain completely on the level of third hand experience and third person relation 每 third person exchange). All the more so, as our lives become ever more abstracted or distant, based upon abstract laws and absent decisions (third person relations)＃ or requiring transport, across land and sea, or across airwaves and disembodied symbols (third hand ＆experience＊). Giving us a set of passages, a radius extending along the centripetal experience of the self and the expanding circles or relations of the centrifugal self; extended networks posing ever greater challenges of co-ordination: ranging from intimate to impersonal; from family, friends and peers to institutions; from community to society＃. indeed, to mass society＃ to international society, with international communications and international markets and trade. Distance together with multiplication; the result is mass society as requiring the abstract to co-ordinate activity＃ and the medium of the media and state and managerial bureaucracy＃ impersonal＃ ever distant.
So the relevant movement here, the movement of history, if you will, is not from gift to commodity: but from gift and its understood measure, to the measure of exchange and gift element (as found together in the modern commodity) as identity＃ so, to come full circle, as influencing ＆value＊ by values.
Relations. Coordination of matter and the exchange of this (including ＆matter＊ as symbol 每ideas- and as services)＃ So ＆time＊ and ＆money＊ - but again also values.
Distance＃ ＆covered＊ by quantitative grids, the relation of two lines in space and two points in ＆time＊ (our ＆now＊ and the ＆this second＊ in social time; if past or future, then as ＆time when＊; the two points appear together in ＆time how long＊ as social time and its relation to natural process or ＆the object＊: then there is the relation of the quantity of money and the required ＆object＊), so immediately bringing into play, in the field of the individual, as in the fields of the social, the co-implicating poles of the diremption, with perception, thought, knowledge, decision and doing as their oscillation＃ with the decision to act, to do something this way and not otherwise, as an expression of value(s).
From religion we inherit, obedience, worship, respect and value, how to value things and others. If the first two are made from fear, and must be subject to exorcism, then life is unthinkable without the last. Or perhaps it was religion that inherited the terms above, copied slavishly by ideologies, learnt as a child at our parent＊s knee, to be unlearnt as adults when we keep respect as recognition＃ as we value those we care for＃ as we care for the things we value＃
Note: Other＊s Value. A quick look at several influential theoretical approaches to the question of value - all incidentally influenced by Marx (but in different ways＃). Value accompanies diremption in Gayatri Spivak who, in her article, ＆Scattered Speculations on the Question of Value＊ (In Other Worlds: Essays in Cultural Politics) one of number on this issue, actually walks a fine diremptive, or binary differential, line, so showing the workings of the ＆double economy＊, in a two handed alternation between＃ a ＆materialist predication＊ with a ＆textualised answer＊, a ＆textualist chain＊ and a ＆materialist theory of subjectivity＊, and the ＆textuality of value＊ and the ＆materialist predication of the subject＊ 每 inevitably, the usual suspects, ＆idealism＊ and ＆materialism＊ also put in an appearance. Until she finally opts for the ＆materialist predication of the subject＊ (her metonymic term for the ＆materialist＊ theory of value). Jean-François Lyotard (Libidinal Economy) also takes the external path, as he decides for a source of new value as coming from ＆outside＊＃ from new products inciting new desires, to technological evolution and new markets (perhaps confusing value with growth in a new sector or ＆what＊s new＊ in a new boom 每 a restricted definition). All this whilst arguing for the role of desire in economics. Yet whilst his ＆libidinal economy＊ tries for a comprehensive or ＆general economy＊ (the inclusion of desire), its one-sided attribution of ＆the source＊ means it remains restricted＃ David Graeber, in Towards an Anthropological Theory of Value, suggests value as part of human culture, as concrete to a given culture - the usual anthropological solution. So no problem; or, rather, the evasion of a ＆metaphysical＊ problem, as value is understood as the product of a complex process which includes all aspects of subjective experience, cultural identity and interaction with others and objects. Others＊ values.
Copyright Peter Nesteruk, 2022