1. A fundamental feature of capitalism is that different types of commodities can be compared to each other. Two different types of commodity can be compared via socially necessary labor time, but in the post gold standard and post war world world this gets wonky.

  2. Comparing 1 battleship to 100 mangos could be done in pure dollar terms. But we all know the battleship market isn’t a real thing, it’s driven by the endless war machine that didn’t let up post World War II. Nations states buy them with fiat and run national deficits that they have no plans on eliminating. Comparing 100 apples to one winter coat we should be able to do the same way as Marx laid out in Capital. Comparing battleships and various military equipment in today’s world to other types of commodities is a departure. How much of a departure is this and what does it tell us about the nature of value today? A worker building a warship is paid in fiat like other workers and buy’s regular commodities like food , housing and even digital products like video games.


  1. The microchip / computer revolution has clearly changed the nature of work, the economy and value. Previously someone like Henry Ford had to hire more workers and scale up production to sell more cars but now a product like Microsoft Windows which is reported to be running on 1 billion devices takes very little extra labor to make copies for new sales. On the one hand the big capitals like Microsoft , Apple and Google seem to make steady profits but things like PC repair shops we saw in the 1990s are basically gone and small software companies that do well are almost always gobbled up by the big capitals. It’s not uncommon for a tech startup to not even try to be profitable , its goal is to be bought out. This seems to suggest that maybe only the very largest capitals can stay profitable? How does this relate to how big tech consumes surplus value? How are the big tech capitals rate of profit affected by the smaller capitals who had a short term footing in tech that can’t survive?

  2. I myself get accused of being a gold bug but think it’s a great commodity we can look at to see how the tendency for the rate of profit to fall may be occurring. Could we substitute in other commodities with some empirical data on the labor inputs? The danger I see is we can’t compare what was socially necessary in 1890 to 2021. A wagon wheel is a great example , wagon wheels helped deliver goods over land in 1890 now they are almost novelty items relegated to holiday hayrides and allowing bougie tourists to see the streets of cities behind horses. This point even extends to gold , it undeniably will not circulate as money but is now needed for microprocessors. Marx wasn’t claiming we could see value although more data than just gold as a reference could help. We should also not fall victim to a vulgar Ricardian socialism , but if we want to prove exchange value isn’t what it was pre 1929 I can’t see not looking at labor inputs.