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Front Page Titles (by Subject) Dimension of Value. - The Theory of Political Economy

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Subject Area: Economics
Topic: General Treatises on Economics

## Dimension of Value. - William Stanley Jevons, The Theory of Political Economy [1871]

##### Edition used:

The Theory of Political Economy (London: Macmillan, 1888) 3rd ed.

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### Dimension of Value.

There is no difficulty in seeing that, when we use the word Value in the sense of ratio of exchange, its dimension will be simply zero. Value will be expressed, like angular magnitude and other ratios in general, by abstract number. Angular magnitude is measured by the ratio of a line to a line, the ratio of the are subtended by the angle to the radius of the circle. So value in this sense is a ratio of the quantity of one commodity to the quantity of some other commodity exchanged for it. If we compare the commodities simply as physical quantities, we have the dimensions M divided by M, or MM-1, or M0. Exactly the same result would be obtained if, instead of taking the mere physical quantities, we were to compare their utilities, for we should then have MU divided by MU or M0U0, which, as it really means unity, is identical in meaning with M0.

When we use the word value in the sense of esteem, or urgency of desire, the feeling with which Oliver Twist must have regarded a few more mouthfuls when he "asked for more," the meaning of the word, as already explained, is identical with degree of utility, of which the dimension is U. Lastly, the value in use of Adam Smith, or the total utility, is the integral of U d M, and has the dimensions MU. We may thus tabulate our results concerning the ambiguous uses of the word value

Popular Expression of Meaning.Scientific Expression.Dimensions.
(1) Value in useTotal UtilityMU.
(2) Esteem, or Urgency of Desire for moreFinal Degree of UtilityU.