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The Relationship of Wages to the Value of Labour-Power in Marx's Labour Market

Listed author(s):
  • Green, Francis

Having explicitly rejected Malthus' law of population, Marx asserted in his early writings that it was competition that would keep wages fluctuating the value of labor-power, even though he did not consider the production of labor-power to be a capitalist process. This paper notes the inconsistency in this approach and then proposes that, implicit in Marx's mature works, there is a consistent mechanism through which wages gravitate toward the value of labor-power: this uses both the flexible "historical and moral" element of the value of labor-power and the reserve army hypothesis. This combination explains why wages follow a relatively even path over time. A model of the labor market is developed which appears to be consistent with Marx's mature writing. Copyright 1991 by Oxford University Press.

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Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal Cambridge Journal of Economics.

Volume (Year): 15 (1991)
Issue (Month): 2 (June)
Pages: 199-213

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Handle: RePEc:oup:cambje:v:15:y:1991:i:2:p:199-213
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