A Critique of Gossen's Fundamental Theorem of the Theory of Pleasure
35 Pages Posted: 26 May 2010 Last revised: 17 Jun 2010
Date Written: June 4, 2010
Hermann Heinrich Gossen is generally known as the predecessor of Walras, Menger and Jevons in preparing modern economic analysis. What is generally not known is his Fundamental Theorem as a marginal approach to the labour theory of value. This paper presents his Fundamental Theorem in terms of modern terminology and extends Gossen's hedonistic approach of pleasure and pain to the analysis of marginal labour values based on technical production functions. It is shown that the marginal approach to the labour theory of value underlies modern economic analysis. Gossen's introduction of the concept of marginal pain or labour in his Fundamental Theorem of the Theory of Pleasure is really the revolutionary part of the Marginalist Revolution and it appears to be rather natural that bourgeois and Marxist vulgar economists have ignored it.
Keywords: Hermann Heinrich Gossen, Microeconomics, Marginalist revolution, Labour theory of value, Marginal analysis, Value theory, Marginal labour value, Marxian economics, Adam Smith, Karl Knies, W. S. Jevons, John Bates Clark, N. Georgescu-Roegen
JEL Classification: B14, B31, B51, D00, D46
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation