Measure of value

Steve Best says that “the only measure of value in capitalism is exchange value, not the intrinsic value of life.”

Exchange value enriches life. It makes travel possible; enables us to buy food at the supermarket; to communicate across the world by email; and even to work at universities decrying capitalism.

As i mentioned in my last post, Ayn Rand tells us in The Objectivist Ethics, that “The principle of trade is the only rational ethical principle for all human relationships, personal and social, private and public, spiritual and material. It is the principle of justice.”

As such, a measure of value in capitalism is certainly exchange value, whether that’s of tyres or tofu.

But is exchange value the only measure?

No. In fact, to arrive at capitalism as a social system, and to arrive at morality before that, there must be an ultimate standard of value. And that ultimate standard of value, contrary to Steve, is life.

Any action that disregards the value of life is not capitalism, but a flawed understanding of it.

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