April 26, 2022
Dick Bryan on counting differently and its consequences on credit, collateral and expression of value. In the current capitalist economies, the question of what constitutes ‘Value’ is directly tied to the question of what counts. The principal counting criterion is profitability: the more profitable a production process (what we call a performance) is, the more it registers on a profit-based counting system and more Value it is deemed to create. That’s just as true of Marx’s labor values as it is of neoclassical economic market values. But not everything created in current society complies with this capitalist rule. There are many socially valuable outputs that aren’t profitable, and aren’t counted systematically, but they keep being produced. In the conventional wisdom, their provision must be understood as a consequence of at least one of the following: philanthropy, subsidy or irrationality; or they are just dismissed as ‘non-economic’, and hence unworthy of measurement. They are framed as innately unsustainable, and so survive only via private and public ‘generosity’.