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Aristotle: Use Value and Exchange Value
  1. Aristotle’s Distinction between Use Value and Exchange Value

According to Aristotle, on the one hand, the use value, which is also known as the utility of a commodity or service, is directly dependent on its productivity to an individual and this is why there is a difference in the way a certain commodity is used by certain people. This makes the demand of the item a function of its use value to different individuals. The use value of a given commodity is likely to decline with the increase in the possession of the good and the use value increases if only the good is consumed properly. This concept mainly falls in the category of quality. The use value is well related to its equivalence in value of cash and not to any other intrinsic value. The satisfying power of a commodity is what determines its use value.

On the other hand, Aristotle views exchange value as being quantitative rather than qualitative. It is mainly the quantity or amount of goods or services that people get in exchange of other particular goods or services. The exchange value is dependent on the use value since as the latter decreases, there is a great possibility that a change has to be made so that people can meet the satisfying power of a given commodity or good. The exchange value of a commodity is also determined by price and it expresses the relative price of one commodity to another commodity involved in the exchange.

  1. Meikle’s Claim on Aristotle’s View of Exchange Value

Meikle claims that Aristotle’s view of exchange value can deteriorate ethical and political considerations and this makes ethics and economics competitors over the same ground where one prospers at the expense of the other. The main reason for the assertion is the need for defending a moral economy. To gain the value of goods, deterioration of ethics is likely to occur since economic power, which is the determinant of the ability to access satisfactory characteristics of good, can come about with the loss of ethics in the society. Exchange value can be determined by politics which can have a great influence on the prices, and this, in turn, mainly affects the ethics of the political and economic leaders who are the locomotive power and determinants of goods that are of value to the society.

Ethics also exist in a great relationship with the exchange value of a given type of commodity. What makes ethics and economics competitors on the same field is the desire to meet value of a certain good and, in most cases, the exchange value of a given commodity. It is economics that usually prospers at the expense of ethics since change in codes of right living can be accompanied by social and political alteration of behavior in the desire to attain economic value. Though the claims are taken to be the critics, they support good conduct and connection between economics and ethics, be they personal or political.

  1. Notion of Fairness in the Exchange of Goods According to Aristotle

A notion of fairness in the exchange of goods is the point at which in an exchange process, there is an equality that is very proportionate in the initial instance and the process is finally followed by retaliation and reciprocity. If money is used as an equalizer, the notion of fairness occurs when return that is proportionate is secured by cross conjunction. For this fairness to occur, the goods that are involved in the exchange must be similarly comparable, and this is where money is applied as an intermediate as it mainly acts as a measure of all things. Association and coming up with fairness would not be possible without an exchange measure.

The notion of fairness also occurs if there is commensurability which is the level or standard in the demand for services that are mutual. This is what again holds the society together for if people had no mutuality in demand, there would be either lack of exchange or lack of fairness at a very larger scale. The main connecter that acts as a representative of the mutual demand is money. After equality or fairness is gained, the notion of fairness is completed by exchange and association.

The notion of fairness can also be attributed to an instance when an exchange is conducted between two parties, and since there are neither market prices nor references to market opportunities that are the alternatives, a third party, which, in this case, is a judge or an arbitrator, is involved to ensure that the needs of all the parties are well catered for in the exchange. Distributive justice is also a good indicator or stand of the notion of fairness, according to Aristotle.

  1. Natural and Unnatural Wealth Acquisition and Aristotle’s Problem with that

According to Aristotle, on the one hand, natural wealth acquisition is positive and is mainly driven by good objectives. It is usually done by the master of the household with the goal of acquiring and administering wealth that is very useful and it is made up mostly of true wealth that is acquired through hard work and determination. The members of a household are the determining factor of the amount of goods to be acquired in order to meet the needs of the entire household. However, natural wealth can be acquired through legal trade which is meant to bring money to ensure sufficiency in a household and the community at large.

On the other hand, unnatural or unlimited wealth acquisition is not driven by positive goals but with negative objectives. It is unlimited and it involves activities such as excessive trade and money-making. These operations are the only ends in the unlimited wealth acquisition.

Aristotle had a problem with the latter, because the goals of unnatural wealth acquisition are not of any benefit to the society, as people do it in pursuit of wealth that is unlimited and that can bring power. It enhances acquisition of wealth beyond the level that is required to bring sufficiency.

  1. Why Natural Acquisition Should Be Subordinated to the Household Management rather than Unlimited Wealth Acquisition

Natural acquisition should be implemented for household management as its goals are not only positive but also very effective in bringing sufficiency to all households in the society. It is based on humanity while unnatural wealth acquisition is not. The latter is grounded on personal interest which is mainly gaining economic power. Natural acquisition comes hand in hand with operations that bring in a friendly environment and concerns that are not only mutual but are meant to bring self-sufficiency to an individual’s household. Natural wealth acquisition is a safe link between an individual’s hard work and well-being.

 
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The result of natural wealth acquisition is a natural end after sufficiency of a household is acquired. Unnatural acquisition of wealth enhances overexploitation of natural resources which does not end naturally, as it does not benefit the entire society but it impacts on the community negatively. Intellectual and moral excellency is the main stand of natural acquisition. If unnatural wealth acquisition was taken to be the key for household management, only particular households would prosper and life would not be free and fair.

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