Value is simple; valuation is complex

Bigger, Patrick and Robertson, Morgan (2017) Value is simple; valuation is complex. Capitalism Nature Socialism, 28 (1). pp. 68-77. ISSN 1045-5752

[thumbnail of practices of value bigger 13122016]
PDF (practices of value bigger 13122016)
practices_of_value_bigger_13122016.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial.

Download (329kB)


Value can appear so complicated that it is not only a terribly intimidating topic, but actually fruitless to pursue. That is, the concept of value is either a dead end or best left to the experts. We disagree. At the most general level, having value can be understood as having the capacity to be measured and compared against another thing (or a standard). This is consistent with Marxian concepts (which are elaborated with special reference to the capitalist value form), but it is also simple and general enough to provide a transportable frame for discussing the role of value and measurement in any context imaginable, whether it be a discussion of spiritualism, collective action, economic data, or physical science. Marx directs our attention to the political constitution of systems of measure on the very first page of Capital, and there is now a great deal of work in geography and in science and technology studies on the social constitution of systems of valuation. We believe a crucial topic deserves an accessible approach that reveals unities rather than barriers, and thus supplement them with the moral and critical political-economic critique made possible by Marxian value theory.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Capitalism Nature Socialism
Additional Information:
This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Capitalism Nature Socialism on 12/01/2017, available online:
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? valuepoliticsperformativityregimes of valuepolitical science and international relationsmanagement, monitoring, policy and lawgeography, planning and development ??
ID Code:
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
07 Feb 2017 17:02
Last Modified:
31 Dec 2023 00:46