Use value


Use value is a concept derived from Adam Smith's theory of value, which states that each good or service has the main characteristic of satisfying a certain need.

The value in use is often identified as the use that it will have during its useful life. That is, the satisfaction that it will offer to its consumer throughout the period of time in which it wears out until its obsolescence or irreparable deterioration. At that point, the user replaces the product with another.

However, this perception or utility has historically changed in response to the different perceptions of the value of a product that have been progressively offered by the different existing economic theories.

There is, to a certain extent, a degree of subjectivity when establishing a use value, since the use of a certain good will be different taking into account the profile of the buyer and / or consumer. For example, the value of a pleasure boat for a local fisherman is not the same as the point of view of an occasional or weekend navigator.

That said, it is necessary to indicate that sometimes the measurement of a value in use is not feasible, responding to the aforementioned subjectivity in the valuation.

The use value according to the nature of the product

Thanks to the very diversity of goods and services that exist on a daily basis, it is also possible to define a wide range of possibilities when establishing the concept of use value.

It is understood that in the food sector the use value corresponds to the only consumption of each food, as in other areas with products linked to expiration (the pharmaceutical sector would also find this situation)

The other alternative is the exchange or market value, represented in that the value of a good or service corresponds to the consideration received when exchanging it through a defined price, or by the amount of work and resources necessary for its production. . This last point would be linked to the Marxist approach to value.

Capitalist approach versus the Marxist approach to use value

As has been indicated, taking into account each point of view, the definition of use value may vary, with the difference centered mainly on individual or collective perception.

For Adam Smith and the classical approach to economics, it is born from the point of view of the individual and the satisfaction of a need through the use of a particular product.

On the other hand, Karl Marx indicated that the need to be satisfied must be social, the use value being a material reality directed for all members of society. Concept then related to the suppression of private and individual property.

Karl Marx's theory of value

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