In some respect, Marx in Capital and Simmel in The Philosophy of Money seem to begin their work with a common interest in “value,” though they might supposedly have developed from quite distinct motivations and under the different perspectives. Where does value (of commodity or object) come from? Marx would say that value is coming from the total labor (labor-time) invested into the commodity in the production process but will be realized only when it is exchanged. Simmel seems to be more abstract than Marx. For Simmel, value is determined subjectively, but “the [subjective?] value of an object becomes objectified by exchanging it for another object” (81). But when and how and from where does this value originate? Sacrifice is the condition and source of value. Exchange is neither giving nor receiving the object, but is reciprocal sacrifice (relatively or absolutely). If this kind of exchange is keep going on and if sacrifice is a negative amount of labor, how would the value of the object become in the end? It seems interesting when I recall recent US (and global) financial crisis. Can we say that “value” for Simmel’s economic exchange is “credit” for the financial chain, as both economic processes are based on accumulated hidden sacrifice?
Georg Simmel, The Philosophy of Money