[OPE-L] objective/subjective theory of value

From: Jurriaan Bendien (adsl675281@TISCALI.NL)
Date: Thu Mar 08 2007 - 15:21:29 EST


Just to tie up a few loose ends: in The Economic Theory of the Leisure Class
(completed 1914)  Bukharin writes as follows:

"Werner Sombart... designates Marx's system as an outgrowth of "extreme
objectivism"; while the Austrian school, in his opinion, was "the most
consistent development in the opposite direction". We consider this
characterisation complete accurate. (...) Marx's theory is accordingly an
objective theory of labour value..." (p. 36, 37). Bukharin cites Werner
Sombart,"Zur Kritik des oekonomischen Systems von Karl Marx", in Archiv fur
soziale Gesetzgebung und Statistik, vol. VII, 1894, pp. 591, 592.

Bukharin also discourses at length about Dr von Bohm-Bawerk
http://www.marxists.org/subject/economy/authors/bohm/index.htm, whose
classes he attended at the University of Vienna. The manuscript of
Bukharin's book seems to have been written in exile in Vienna, Lausanne,
Stockholm, and Oslo. By his own testimony he left the manuscript in Oslo,
and it found its way to Russia in February 1919, where he edited and updated
it some more, to include some Anglo-Saxon ideas among other things (he had
spent some time in New York as well, after Oslo).

The interpretation of Marx's theory of value as an "objective theory of
value" would thus appear to be of German/Austrian origin, originating
specifically with Sombart circa 1894, i.e. precisely at the time that Marx's
Capital Vol. 3 was first published, and a year before Engels's death from
throat cancer. Rudolf Hilferding's reply to Bohm-Bawerk was written circa
1904 http://www.marxists.org/subject/economy/authors/hilfer/index.htm .

As regards Joseph Schumpeter, I was wrong in what I said previously, because
Schumpeter does acknowledge the historical origins of marginal utility
theory long before Menger/Walras/Jevons:

"But let us bear in mind that it was the 'subjective' or 'utility' theory of
price that had the wind until the influence of the Wealth of Nations [by
Adam Smith] - and especially Ricardo's Principles [of Political Economy and
Taxation] - asserted itself. Even after 1776, that theory prevailed on the
Continent, and there is an unbroken line of development between Galiani and
J.B. Say. Quesnay, Beccaria, Turgot, Verri, Condillac, and many minor lights
contributed to establishing it more and more firmly. "  (History of Economic
Analysis, p. 302). You might quibble about the details, but the thought is


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