[OPE-L:1050] Re: Discussions on the labor Theory of Value

Allin Cottrell (cottrell@wfu.edu)
Tue, 13 Feb 1996 06:27:40 -0800

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Duncan, in 1047:

> If we're thinking about planning and socialism, we need to think about
> shadow prices in a programming problem, and we wind up even further from
> embodied labor coefficients, don't we?


That depends on both the scope and the time-horizon of the planning. If
the planning is comprehensive, and over a time-scale such that stocks of
means of production become plan variables rather than just constraints,
then human labour-time is the key scarcity and plan prices are likely to
be closely related to labour-contents. Labour-time is the most versatile
resource, and other scarcities can be overcome (via production,
conservation or substitution) through the application of enough labour.
It was an appreciation of this point, IMO, that gave Ricardo and Marx
such confidence in the truth of the labour theory of value.