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Use-Value, Exchange Value, and the Demise of Marx's Labor Theory of Value

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  • Keen, Steve

Abstract

Karl Marx was the greatest champion of the labor theory of value. The logical problems of this theory have, however, split scholars of Marx into two factions: those who regard it as an indivisible component of Marxism, and those who wish to continue the spirit of analysis begun by Marx without the labor theory of value. In the debate between these two camps, the former has attempted to draw support from Marx's concepts of value, while the latter has ignored them, taking instead as their starting point the truism that production generates a surplus. Nevertheless, a careful examination of the development of Marx's logic uncovers the profound irony that, after a chance rereading of Hegel, Marx made a crucial advance which should have led him to replace the labor theory of value with the theory that commodities in general are the source of surplus. Marx's value analysis is thus consistent, not with those who would defend the labor theory of value, but with those who would transcend it.

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  • Keen, Steve, 1993. "Use-Value, Exchange Value, and the Demise of Marx's Labor Theory of Value," Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Cambridge University Press, vol. 15(1), pages 107-121, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:jhisec:v:15:y:1993:i:01:p:107-121_00
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    Cited by:

    1. Cavalieri, Duccio, 2015. "Structural interdependence in monetary economics: theoretical assessment and policy implications," MPRA Paper 65526, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Keen, Steve, 1993. "The Misinterpretation of Marx's Theory of Value," Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Cambridge University Press, vol. 15(2), pages 282-300, October.
    3. Hornborg, Alf, 2014. "Ecological economics, Marxism, and technological progress: Some explorations of the conceptual foundations of theories of ecologically unequal exchange," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 105(C), pages 11-18.
    4. Cavalieri, Duccio, 2013. "On the theory of capital in post-industrial societies," MPRA Paper 51719, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Stefano Perri, 2003. "The Counterfactual Method of Marx's Theory of Surplus," Review of Political Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 15(1), pages 107-124.

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