Use-value

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Use value, or value in use, is the utility of consuming a good; the want-satisfying power of a good or service in classical political economy.

  • Use-value is an aspect of the commodity that coincides with the physical palpable existence of the commodity. In other words, use-value is inextricably tied to "the physical properties of the commodity".
  • A use-value has value only in use, and is realized only in the process of consumption. One and the same use-value can be used in various ways.
  • It is, moreover, determined not only qualitatively but also quantitatively. Different use-values have different measures appropriate to their physical characteristics; for example, a bushel of wheat, a quire of paper, a yard of linen.
  • Use-value as such, since it is independent of the determinate economic form, lies outside the sphere of investigation of political economy. It belongs in this sphere only when it is itself a determinate form.
  • Use-value is the immediate physical entity in which a definite economic relationship (exchange-value) is expressed.

“Whatever its social form may be, wealth always consists of use-values...” [Marx, CCPE, pp. 27-8.]

“The use-value of a commodity is the basis of its exchange-value and thus of its value.” [Marx, Capital, vol. III, Part VI, Ch. 37]

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