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It is shown that adopting this approach opens up rich possibilities for interpretation of contemporary developments such as the increasing dominance of the monetary and financial sectors, and the two decades of liberalisation of labour markets.


Marx After Sraffa

The paper focuses on the appropriate conceptualisation of money and labour-power, arguing against the modern classical approach of Dixon and Kay. Most users should sign in with their email address. If you originally registered with a username please use that to sign in. To purchase short term access, please sign in to your Oxford Academic account above. Don't already have an Oxford Academic account? Oxford University Press is a department of the University of Oxford. It furthers the University's objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide.

Sign In or Create an Account. Sign In. Advanced Search. Article Navigation. Close mobile search navigation Article Navigation. Volume Money and labour-power: Marx after Hegel, or Smith plus Sraffa? Needless to say, the responsibility for remaining views and errors rests entirely with the author. Use the link below to share a full-text version of this article with your friends and colleagues. Learn more.

Marx After Sraffa by Steedman Ian - AbeBooks

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The first is that neither much explanation of the economic meaning of the original results nor of the relevance of its assumptions has ever been made 6. Steedman , p. This assumption is not necessary for the present purposes - it does not matter for the results if wages are paid ex-ante or ex-post. These two assumptions imply that the individual labour value for the good one is negative. The third assumption is:. As we shall see it is this latter assumption of the unfeasibility of producing the baskets of the two classes separately plus the great divergence among the bundles, not the mere existence of a negative labour value for one of the commodities, which is the key for the occurrence of negative aggregates of labour.

The solution of this system gives us the following vector of labour values:. He then moves on to show also that the aggregate amount of surplus value in this system is negative, both measured as the aggregate labour value of the sum of commodities demanded by the capitalists and as the difference of total labour employed versus the aggregate labour employed embodied in the wage basket.


Where x 1 and x 2 are the levels of activity of each process required to produce the net product the components of the vector of activity levels. The solution of this system gives the following vector:. The aggregate amount of labour is given by the sum of each element of the activity level vector using this normalization:. If we multiply the final demand baskets of each class by the labour values of each commodity, this particular technology and pattern of final demand will give us the following labour value aggregates:. Where S is the surplus value and V is the variable capital.

The other way for calculating the surplus value is looking at the difference between the living labour 6 units and the variable capital 7 units :. Before moving on, we think that we can understand this result better if we make the calculation in terms of activity levels associated to the production of each bundle, instead of just finding the labour value of each bundle, as we have done for the whole net product above.

The sum of each component of x w gives us the variable capital. This way of calculating shows that both bundles require negative activity levels of one of the processes because both bundles cannot be produced separately by the processes in use. The horizontal axis represents the net product of first commodity and the vertical axis the the net product of the second commodity. As we can see, the total final demand y falls inside the cone, which means that it can be reached with non-negative levels of activity.

The total employment required for that is 6 units. However, the bundles that each class receives fall outside the cone.

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This means that they cannot be produced separately - though it is feasible to produce both jointly. If both bundles were inside the cone no negative surplus value could happen, although the labour value of one of the two commodities would still be negative. But the central point we want to emphasize is that any final demand outside the cone is economically meaningless 9.

We can thus see that the existence of negative labour values for single commodities does not by itself imply the paradox. The paradox of positive profits and negative surplus value provided by Steedman rests on the fact that negative levels of activity would be required if the bundles were to be produced separately - or, that these bundles can only be produced jointly within this square system. Of course negative activity levels do not exist. They are just the mathematical symptom of the fact that there would be overproduction of one of the two commodities if we were to produce only the wage bundle of the workers using these two processes.

Be e i the column vector in which the i-th coordinate is unity and the other ones are null, the true-value of the commodity i will be given by the following minimization problem:.

A letter and reply on the “Sraffa-based” critique of Marx

The authors argue that this different definition of labour value would have a textual basis in Marx but the argument is not very convicing Steedman, a. A second important criticism is that in this case the redefined surplus value would be related to a non-capitalist i. Steedman b promptly replied that in the particular case of his example the difference between the two methods would hardly matter for his results, the solution being exactly the same for both approaches. Kurz and Krause tried to refute the paradox redefining the vector of individual labour values to make it semi-positive.

Anwar Shaikh on Value and Price in Smith, Ricardo, Marx

Krause argued that the different labour productivities are a case of heterogeneous labour and with this argument the author changes the weights of the direct labour vector in such way to guarantee strictly positive individual labour values. The obvious problem with this complicated solution is that the assumption of heterogeneous labour is simply not present in Steedman Flaschel , p.

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This procedure goes in a completely different route with respect to the original function of the labour values of being a measure of physical costs, independent from and a major determinant of income distribution and relative prices. The problem is that in this case there are many scalars that satisfy the inequality and we would have an indeterminacy problem. Graphically, we would have:.