[OPE] Paul Sweezy & Labour theory.

From: Alejandro Agafonow (alejandro_agafonow@yahoo.es)
Date: Thu Apr 17 2008 - 13:24:19 EDT

Hello all!
Concerning Paul Sweezy’s assertion that labour theory of value is essentially a theory of general equilibrium, I read the interview Riccardo Bellofiore suggested, though I haven’t read Sweezy’s article at Monthly Review because I haven’t been able to get a copy. The only place Sweezy referred indirectly to equilibrium is in the following sentence, which reveals an interesting structuralist intuition far from the idealized world of equilibrium:
«But the point was that the problem of monopoly in our view was not how the surplus got produced and how it got squeezed out of the producers, the workers, but how it got divided up. And in Marxist theory in Volume III of Capital, there is the whole mechanism turning around the average rate of profit and competition among capitalists of roughly co-equal status as far as their power and their control in the market was concerned. All of that, following on in the classical tradition of Adam Smith. And we wanted to argue that the distribution of the surplus was affected by the changes in the structural characteristics of capitalism […]» (pp. 6)
It is also interesting to contrast Sweezy’s position concerning marginal utility price theory with Langes’s position. The last one didn’t see a contradiction between Marxism and subjective theory of value. The following is a Sweezy’s quotation:
«It took me a long, long time before I could accept the Marxist labor value theory because I was totally accustomed to the type of thinking of marginal utility price theory, and so on. And I couldn’t for a long time, I couldn’t see how there could be another kind of value theory with totally different purposes.» (pp. 1)
Alejandro Agafonow

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