labour theory of value


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labour theory of value

the doctrine, in classical economics (and especially in MARXIST ECONOMICS), that labour alone is the source of VALUE and that the value and price of commodities is directly related to the labour-time embodied in their production. On this formulation CAPITAL represents past or ‘dead’ labour, and this, together with new labour and land, is combined in the process of production. Apart from general arguments for and against Marxism, debates also exist within Marxism over the extent to which empirical prices, profits, etc. bear a systematic and calculable relation to value in its theoretical sense. Often it is accepted that they do not, but that nevertheless the general concept of labour values is useful in indicating levels of ‘exploitation’, tendencies to crisis, etc. within capitalism (e.g. see Wright, 1981,1985,1989). On the other hand, even within Marxism, there are arguments that the labour theory of value is unjustified (see Steedman et al, 1981). Both Pierre Sraffa (1960), in a so-called ‘neo-Ricardian’ analysis, and Roemer (1982), using a game-theory approach, have elaborated the technical reasons for this. Sraffa, for example, argues that the standard of absolute ‘value’ cannot be ‘labour’ in the way that both Ricardo and Marx suggested, but must instead be the ‘standard commodity’ (in which the proportions in which commodities enter net outputs is assumed equal to that in which they enter the aggregate means of production); this standard commodity includes labour, but not labour exclusively. It can be argued, as by Hodgson (1982), that: ‘the extent to which the propositions of Capital depend on the labour theory of value has been over estimated by both supporters and opponents of Marxian analysis’, and that this analysis remains a powerful tool for the analysis of capitalist societies and capitalist economic relations, especially in its focus on production, forms of PROPERTY, and on inequalities – see also CAPITALIST LABOUR CONTRACT, EXPLOITATION, CONTRADICTORY CLASS LOCATIONS. Against this, there exist very real problems for Marxism from any detachment from the labour theory of value, not least an undermining of the LAW OF VALUE and doctrines of an inherent tendency to final crisis in capitalism that have been central, at least to 'S cientistic’ forms of Marxism (see CRISES OF CAPITALISM, ORGANIC COMPOSITION OF CAPITAL, TENDENCY TO DECLINING RATE OF PROFIT). Accordingly, the account of capitalism provided by contemporary Marxism is far less determinate than that given previously
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The paper concludes, therefore, that, for Smith, labour is a measure of value but also the source of value, so that the Scottish philosopher opts in the first chapters of The Wealth of Nations for a labour theory of value against the belief of those who interpret that Smith founded a value theory based on production costs.
A key part of Marx's analysis, flowing from his version of the labour theory of value, is his view that labour power is a commodity with both a use value (to create surplus value or undertake other activities for the boss or the State aiding that end) and an exchange value, reflected in the market by its price or wage.
Nevertheless, in Petty we find the germs of a labour theory of value, a scientific methodology based on 'sensible' (non-subjective) quantities and an analytical notion of surplus.
(xliv) Note that Dumenil and Foley (2006) call now their NI "the Single-System Labour Theory of Value (SS-LTV) interpretation".
On the basis of the moral economy and the popular labour theory of value, wealth gained through profit, interest, rent and speculation by 'accumulators', 'profit and loan-mongers' and 'stock and land-jobbers', was unearned increment that had its origin in the socially useful labour of the producing classes.
To do so, she turns to Marx's labour theory of value, critiquing his failure to recognize that some groups of labour were already more or less valued as part of pre-capitalist relations that were subsequently embedded within capitalism.
The book begins with a critical analysis of the theoretical works of Marx's labour theory of value (Chapter 1), and of patriarchy and capitalism (Chapter 2).
He then follows Ramsay Cook in suggesting that the thing uniting "toilers" was a labour theory of value -- a doctrine holding that the worth of a good derived from the labour expended in its production.
When neo-Classical economists abandoned the labour theory of value, the spotlight turned on Say's perception of utility in the context of the economic system's constant tendency to adjust toward general equilibrium.
Barnes also outlines several theories of value and their relation to the analysis of spatial relations, including the labour theory of value and neoclassical notions of place utility, offering instead several versions drawn from postmodern economic theory.
First Constitutionalists, then Democratic-Republicans, and later Old School Democrats, all advocated versions of producers' rights which culminated in nothing less than a labour theory of value. Thus when the material conditions of industrial capitalismeroded the independence of mechanics in the nineteenth century, they responded by drawing on a political heritage which was really of their own making, although articulated by aradical bourgeois intelligentsia.

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