A Category-Mistake in the Classical Labor Theory of Value: Identification and Resolution

18 Pages Posted: 22 Nov 2011

See all articles by Ian P. Wright

Ian P. Wright

The Open University - Department of Economics

Date Written: November 22, 2011

Abstract

The classical labor theory of value generates two well-known antinomies: Ricardo’s problem of an invariable measure of value and Marx’s transformation problem. I show that both antinomies are generated by the same category-mistake of expecting a technical measure of labor cost to function as a total measure of labor cost. This category-mistake is the deep conceptual generator of the two hundred year history of the ‘value controversy’. Once identified we can avoid the category-mistake, which yields a labor theory of value with an invariable measure of value and without a transformation problem.

Keywords: classical political economy, labor theory of value, Ricardo, Marx

JEL Classification: B51, E11, D46

Suggested Citation

Wright, Ian P., A Category-Mistake in the Classical Labor Theory of Value: Identification and Resolution (November 22, 2011). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1963018 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1963018

Ian P. Wright (Contact Author)

The Open University - Department of Economics ( email )

Walton Hall
Milton Keynes, MK7 6AA
United Kingdom

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