I can’t be bothered to look them up right now but I’ve commented before (though I think not in these words) on my views on the category “use value” in Marx as being a philosophically minimalist category and having little normative quality to it, at least when used analytically. That is, use values aren’t good or bad, for one thing. Anyhow, this bit of William Cronon’s Changes In The Land might be useful if I ever want to actually make the case for this.

On trade between Native Americans and colonists –
“What Indians valued was often less the inherent technical qualities of a material object than its ascriptive qualities as an object of status. (In this they were not fundamentally different from Europeans who sought to obtain animal skins so as to display personal wealth.) A kettle or a metal arrowhead might have virtues that save labor and were desirable in their own right, but these did not become compelling until other Indians owned them and an individual’s importance began to be measured by their possession. Indians eventaully sought many of the things Europeans offered in trade, not for what Europeans thought valuable about them, but for what those things conveyed in Indian schemes of value. In effect, they became different objects.” (p94.)

On the last line, I would qualify it with something like “considered from the perspective of/as use value,” but the point remains.

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