I want to take Marxian ideas about exploitation seriously but I'm having trouble understanding the labour theory of value. Is it true that all of Marxian theory falls apart if his theory of value is wrong? Personally, I have trouble buying the notion that a commodities value is determined by the labour time necessary to produce that commodity. Imagine this scenario: a concentration camp wherein cigarettes are used as currency. Let's say the supply of cigarettes is cut off abruptly one day. 2 weeks go by and everybody has smoked all of their cigarettes. One lucky prisoner find a single cigarettes underneath his bed. This is the only smoke in the entire camp, but our lucky prisoner is not a smoker, and he looks to exchange this cigarette for some food. The other prisoners try to outbid each other, offering more and more, until our prisoner is able to trade his cigarette for triple the amount of food normally traded for a single smoke. In other words, the value of the cigarette triples. But how is this value created by his labour? He didn't work at all to find it; he found it by accident?
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