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Value after Lehman

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This article considers the status and meaning of the category of value in the wake of the financial crisis that began in 2007. I argue that value is best understood as a form of social wealth constituted by a spatially and temporally generalising social relation of equivalence and substitutability under, and specific to, capitalism ‐ and that a categorial focus shows that despite massive ‘devaluations’, the value-relation is not itself in crisis. On the contrary, it is running at near full capacity, erasing the difference between ‘financial’ and ‘real’ capitals, values, and assets. Consequently, attempts to understand the crisis that rely on material distinctions between ‘real’ and ‘fictitious’ values and capitals overstate the extent and depth of the crisis for capital, and underestimate the virtually uninterrupted consolidation of the rule of the value, i.e. the territorial and historical imperative of equivalence and substitutability.

Affiliations: 1: Simon Fraser University, Email:


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