IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

RICARDO: Standard Commodity : : MARX: ?

  • Bruce Roberts
Registered author(s):

    Sraffa's construct, the standard commodity, responds to Ricardo's search for an 'invariable' measure of value, since it is a measurement unit invariant to changes in distribution. But Sraffa suggests that there is no 'counterpart,' no analogous search or needed construct, for the 'problem' of 'difference' as distinct from change ('why two commodities produced by the same quantities of labour are not of the same exchangeable value'). Difference in this sense is crucial to Marx, who distinguishes value and surplus-value from capitalist price and profit in part in order to theorize differences as systematic value transfers. In that effort, Marx repeatedly poses commodities and capitals as 'aliquot parts' of the whole, so that profit is a redistributed share of aggregate surplus-value. This paper shows that, when Marx's aliquot part imagery is formalized, the resulting hypothetical system represents a meaningful 'counterpart,' a construct with a function in Marx's analysis of difference comparable to that of Sraffa's standard commodity in analyzing distributional change. A Marxian 'standard system' posing each commodity as an aliquot part of the social capital (a) defines the needed labor-time unit of social account by homogenizing heterogeneous concrete labors as socially average ('abstract') labor while simultaneously (b) allowing the derivation of exchange-value (e.g., capitalist production price) on that scale via summation of directly and indirectly embodied labor. Indeed, Marx's approach to production prices as resulting from an inter-industry redistribution of aggregate surplus-value is shown to be algebraically identical to the calculation of labor-embodied under 'aliquot part' production conditions.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/09538250903214875
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

    Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Review of Political Economy.

    Volume (Year): 21 (2009)
    Issue (Month): 4 ()
    Pages: 589-619

    as
    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:taf:revpoe:v:21:y:2009:i:4:p:589-619
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.tandfonline.com/CRPE20

    Order Information: Web: http://www.tandfonline.com/pricing/journal/CRPE20

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:taf:revpoe:v:21:y:2009:i:4:p:589-619. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Michael McNulty)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.