use-value and exchange-value

use-value and exchange-value

(MARXISM) the distinction between the usefulness of an object or service (COMMODITIES) produced within an economy, its use-value, and the ratio at which a commodity exchanges against others, its exchange-value (see also VALUE). While use-value is a precondition for any exchange value, the magnitude of the latter is not determined by use-value.

The distinction plays an important role in Marxist political economy, particularly in relation to the difference held to exist between, on the one hand, the exchange-value of the commodities that LABOUR POWER produces, and the exchange-value of labour power itself. The expropriation by capitalists of the SURPLUS VALUE created in this way is the source of the EXPLOITATION that Marx insists occurs as an inherent feature of capitalism. See also CAPITALISM AND CAPITALIST MODE OF PRODUCTION, LABOUR THEORY OF VALUE, RESERVE ARMY OF LABOUR.

References in periodicals archive ?
Adam Smith and the other classical economists of his time (the 18th century) recognized the distinction between use-value and exchange-value. The exchange-value of a commodity refers to the quantities of other commodities for which it can be exchanged.