The labour theory of value, risk and the rate of profit
The paper extends Marx’s law of value to include the effects of risk. It shows how risk has its origins in the labour process and is transferred between labour and capital on an unequal basis and between capitals on a zero sum basis. An empirical test is then presented, which shows that the employment of labour increases risk from the point of view of the investing capitalist. The conclusion is that the employment of labour is a curate’s egg from capital’s point of view. On the one hand it is essential for the production of sustainable surplus value and therefore for competitive advantage and capital accumulation. On the other hand employment of labour renders such accumulation inherently risky and therefore commensurately more costly to the rational capitalist investor.
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