Marx’s theory of value is more nuanced than that newspaper article and some of its proponents represent. One of Max’s points was that a thing’s value is based on different dimensions. Price represents the “exchange value” of a commodity. However, isn’t the only or entire value of a commodity. Things also have “use value.” This is why people want things, because they have some use value for them. For example, if you are in need banging nails, the value of a hammer is based on its ability to hit nails. If you want a baseball cap with the logo of your favorite sports team it is because it has some use value for you (e.g. displaying a symbol of something you are proud of). So Jeffery is right that things have exchange value (represented as price) “because you and I value them.” Marx would not have disagreed. But he would have added that the reason people value things is because those things have some use for them (even if impractical or illogical). The reason we are are able to exchange the things we want for money is because there is some other dimension of their value that is quantifiable (and thus can be rendered equivalent and exchangeable), and it is this quantifiable value Marx said was based on labor power.

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