From: Ian Wright (wrighti@ACM.ORG)
Date: Thu Aug 16 2007 - 12:23:05 EDT
> I don't know what you mean by the standard *formula*. > There is no mathematical formula in Adam Smith or > Ricardo. Yes I know. At some point authors translated the classical statements regarding the calculation of labour-values into the standard formula for labour-values, v=vA+l which is used in modern mathematical critiques of the logical possibility of a LTV. Much of the neo-Ricardian/Sraffa-inspired attack on the LTV gains its credibility by being cast in terms of linear production theory. When did this mathematical *translation* of the classical definition of labour-value first take place? > Adam Smith's example of beaver and deer > exchange in that rude state of civilization is well > know. Of course, Malthus did not believe in this > proposition--he maintained that value was determined > by demand and supply forces and cost of production was > subordinate to it in every circumstances. Say also > believed that it was demand and utility that regulated > value. But both of them are more Smithean in > opposition to Ricardo. Ricardo also did not maintain > that relative labor content of commodities determined > their relative values--this is a general > misunderstanding of Ricardo (my own reading of > Ricardo's theory which is different from Sraffa's will > be presented in my book). I agree that Ricardo is very clear that there is a contradiction between absolute value and relative value. I also think that Sraffa's reading of Ricardo has its problems. > Same goes with Marx. Marx clearly maintained, contra Ricardo, that labour-values determine prices, although the determination is via global conservation constraints, rather than direct price-value proportionality. > Among the early economists it was McCulloch and to some > extent James Mill who held, what now a days is known > as 'labor theory of value'. Ricardo told McCulloch > that he did not agree with such a proposition and > interestingly Marx had a poor opinion of McCulloch. So > I do not know who people are defending when they are > supposedly defending the 'labor theory of value'. Ricardo and Marx, without a shadow of a doubt, held a labour theory of value. Of course there are important nuances, but the family resemblances are as clear as day. I cannot imagine how one could think otherwise. Best wishes, -Ian.
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