Does nature create value?

There doesn't exist supernatural forces. If we produce, we organize, steer and regulate productive forces of nature for the benefit of our purposes. We can't produce without natural forces. In the sense of the theory of factors of production nature enters (into?) the product.

In Germany there was an interesting discussion about this topic between Hans Immler and Wolfdietrich Schmied-Kowarzik (from Kassel) in 1986.

Karl Marx assumed that nature and work create the WEALTH of a society. But only (abstract) work creates VALUE. Immler wants to include the new ecologically thought. He thinks that Marxism "stands only on one leg like a stork". Therefore also nature has to create value. But W. Schmied-Kowarzik argues that Marx merely described capitalistic reality, which is asymmetric in this way.

Immler´s opinion found some fans. Sometimes I didn't know, who is right. I read many such opinions also in books from ecofeminists and so on. And my special field isn't the political economy. Now I think, Schmied-Kowarzik is right.

Immler takes for granted that value is created by "abstraction" during changing from value-in-use to value-in-exchange. But the really abstraction is: work on the basis of private people is "abstract social work", creating value (abstract work is the value-substance). This abstract work is indifferent on the use of their products on principle. "Value" is not "for account" - it characterizes a form of socialization, it is not a economically, but a socially notion.

Naturally forces are effective in increasing the working productivity. Therefore the nature is charged to account within the work. It isn't a mistake in the calculation, but it is social reality. And this reality we have to criticize, not the calculation.

While work is reproduced (in so far it is necessarily for profit-production) - nature is appropriated without reproduction (and reproduction isn't possible to reproduce completely!). There doesn't exist a "fair payment" (for using no-reproducible nature or the work of womens). I think, it is a dangerous way to pay for women-work in housekeeping (housekeeping would become wage-work also..., not a free, another work) or in the Trikont ( self-sustaining society would be destroyed and subdued under profit-logic).

I think with Schmied-Kowarzik, that we have to abolish the value-socialization and not to improve the calculation within these value-socialization.

The naturally basis plays a special role by arising the ground-pension (?). Than monopolized naturally forces bring this "differential-pension" to their owners. This is mediated by increasing productive forces of the work-forces. This occurs, so long these naturally forces are not generalized. "All scientific-technically progress in duty to commodity production aimed at winning of this extra-profit." (Schmied-Kowarzik)


Immler, H., Schmied-Kowarzik, W., Natur und Marxistische Werttheorie. Dokumentation einer interdisziplinären Arbeitstagung Kassel 1986, Kasseler philosophische Schriften 23, 1988

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