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


  • 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.

Suggested Citation

  • Green, Francis, 1991. "The Relationship of Wages to the Value of Labour-Power in Marx's Labour Market," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 15(2), pages 199-213, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:cambje:v:15:y:1991:i:2:p:199-213

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. James K. Galbraith, 1997. "Time to Ditch the NAIRU," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(1), pages 93-108, Winter.
    2. J. M. Keynes, 1937. "The General Theory of Employment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 51(2), pages 209-223.
    3. Deaton, Angus, 1985. "Panel data from time series of cross-sections," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 30(1-2), pages 109-126.
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    Cited by:

    1. Levrero, Enrico Sergio, 2009. "Marx on absolute and relative wages," MPRA Paper 20976, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Francis Green, 1999. "It's been a hard day's night: The concentration and intensification of work in late 20th century Britain," Studies in Economics 9913, School of Economics, University of Kent.

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