Value always means value in exchange.
The Human Condition
Section 22: The Exchange Market
(163-4, bold added)
In this process from isolated craftsmanship to manufacturing for the exchange market, the finished end product changes its quality somewhat but not altogether. Durability, which alone determines if a thing can exist as a thing and endure in the world as a distinct entity, remains the supreme criterion, although it no longer makes a thing fit for use but rather fit to “be stored up beforehand” for future exchange. (footnote 30)
This is the change in quality reflected in the current distinction between use and exchange value, whereby the latter is related to the former as the merchant and trader is related to the fabricator and manufacturer. In so far as homo faber fabricates use objects, he not only produces them in the privacy of isolation but also for the privacy of usage, from which they emerge and appear in the public realm when they become commodities in the exchange market. It has frequently been remarked and unfortunately as frequently been forgotten that value, being “an idea of proportion between the possession of one thing and the possession of another in the conception of man,” (footnote 31) “always means value in exchange.” (footnote 32) For it is only in the exchange market, where everything can be exchanged for something else, that all things, whether they are products of labor or work, consumer goods or use objects, necessary for the life of the body or the convenience of living or the life of the mind, become “values.” This value consists solely in the esteem of the public realm where the things appear as commodities, and it is neither labor, nor work, nor capital, nor profit, nor material, which bestows such value upon on object, but only and exclusively the public realm where it appears to be esteemed, demanded, or neglected. Value is the quality a thing can never possess in privacy but acquires automatically the moment it appears in public.
30. Adam Smith, op. cit. [Wealth of Nations], II, 241.
31. This definition was given by the Italian economist Abbey Galiani. I quote from Hannah R. Sewall, The Theory of Value before Adam Smith (1901) (“Publications of the American Economic Association,” 3d Ser., Vol. II, No. 3), p.92.
32. Alfred Marshall, Principles of Economics (1920), I, 8.
*Next Up: Monday 9 May and a 2020: Value, the Public Realm and Bruce Dold of the Chicago Tribune.
Posted by Bryan W. Brickner