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Plusvalore e sfruttamento dopo Sraffa. Lo stato del problema
[Surplus Value and Exploitation After Sraffa: The State of the Problem]


  • Cavalieri, Duccio


This article deals with a theoretical point: the alleged consistency of the Marxian notion of exploitation with the Sraffian theory of prices. The problem is examined in a historico-critical perspective. The discussion is centred on the idea that in a circular model of production with vertically integrated sectors the use of the real wage rate as a numeraire provides a way of measuring surplus labour as a difference between the quantity of labour commanded by a real wage unit, at prices of production, and the quantity embodied in the amount of any commodity which would exchange at such prices with the wage unit. This procedure runs against two basic objections. First, by concentrating the attention on the possibility of substituting wage-goods for labour in the process of price determination, it implies a loss of the fundamental Marxian distinction between abstract labour, considered as a source of value, and labour-power, a commodity. Only the latter dimension remains relevant. Second, the sectoral rates of surplus value defined in such a way are "natural" rates, with a purely notional character.

Suggested Citation

  • Cavalieri, Duccio, 1995. "Plusvalore e sfruttamento dopo Sraffa. Lo stato del problema
    [Surplus Value and Exploitation After Sraffa: The State of the Problem]
    ," MPRA Paper 43780, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:43780

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Lipietz, Alain, 1982. "The so-called "transformation problem" revisited," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 59-88, February.
    2. Samuelson, Paul, 2012. "Understanding the Marxian Notion of Exploitation: A Summary of the So-CalledTransformation Problem Between Marxian Values and Competitive Prices," Economic Policy, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, pages 182-202, August.
    3. Wolfstetter, E, 1973. "Surplus Labour, Synchronised Labor Costs and Marx's Labour Theory of Value," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 83(331), pages 787-809, September.
    4. Steedman, Ian, 1975. "Positive Profits with Negative Surplus Value," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 85(337), pages 114-123, March.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    value; surplus value; exploitation; Marx; Sraffa; vertical integration;

    JEL classification:

    • B51 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Current Heterodox Approaches - - - Socialist; Marxian; Sraffian
    • B10 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought through 1925 - - - General
    • B14 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought through 1925 - - - Socialist; Marxist
    • A10 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - General
    • D24 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Production; Cost; Capital; Capital, Total Factor, and Multifactor Productivity; Capacity


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