Cameron [Abstract]

Affect and the labor theory of value: A contemporary amendment

[Full text]

Alexia Cameron [1]

Abstract: Desire is woven into the ways in which people ‘do things with things’, that is, culture. Indeed, Karl Marx and David Ricardo’s initial value theories deliver meaningful insight into the social relations of production. But, today, it isn’t simply workers that supply and consumers that demand; immaterial products increasingly derive value through the psychic dynamics of a range of engaged ‘players’ irrespective of categories of worker, employer, consumer, audience, follower, passer-by, owner, or investor et cetera, and individual labor is evermore entangled with, and inseparable from, the life of the mind. Importantly, in contemporary conditions, the law of value is an especially necessary measure for allowing such invisible affected labors to be socially revealed and appreciated. Drawing on Melbourne, Australia, as an example of a ‘liveable’ metropolitan centre that is built of immaterial labor, this conceptual paper examines the separation, or disconnect, between culture and production in formal economics, compared with the integration of subjectivities, affect, audiences, and cultures that actually make and re-make (immaterial) values, to reimagine a new theory of value grounded in affect. 

Keywords: Affect; affected labor; desire; immaterial labor; law of value; Melbourne;

[1] Independent researcher,