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Smith’s “Perfect Liberty” and Marx’s Equalized Rate of Surplus-Value

Listed author(s):
  • Jonathan F. Cogliano


    (Department of Economics, New School for Social Research)

Marx’s theory of surplus-value is fundamental to his innovations in the theory of value and Classical Political Economy. When Marx’s theory of surplus-value is considered in the context of the long-period method, the dynamics of surplus-value and its importance to Marx’s overall framework can be properly presented. This approach reveals that Marx’s use of an equalized rate of surplus-value across sectors of production in Volume III of Capital is not merely a convenient assumption. The equalization of the sectoral rate of surplus-value is in fact one of the central tendencies of Marx’s framework, and is elevated to the level of an economic law by Marx. The reasoning behind Marx’s use of an equalized rate of surplus-value is the mobility of labor found in Adam Smith. This reasoning, when combined with the long-period method, reveals that the rate of surplus-value across sectors is subject to the same turbulent dynamics and equalization process as the rate of profit, and should not be deviated from when applying Marx’s vision.

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Paper provided by New School for Social Research, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 1108.

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Length: 28 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2011
Handle: RePEc:new:wpaper:1108
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  1. Gérard Duménil & Duncan Foley & Dominique Lévy, 2009. "A Note On The Formal Treatment Of Exploitation In A Model With Heterogenous Labor," Metroeconomica, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 60(3), pages 560-567, July.
  2. Dong-Min Rieu, 2009. "The 'New Interpretation': Questions Answered And Unanswered," Metroeconomica, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 60(3), pages 568-570, July.
  3. Dong-Min Rieu, 2008. "Estimating Sectoral Rates Of Surplus Value: Methodological Issues," Metroeconomica, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 59(4), pages 557-573, November.
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