Re: [OPE-L] Queries about Karl Marx vs Adolph Wagner on value, exchange value and price formation

From: Ian Wright (wrighti@ACM.ORG)
Date: Thu Sep 20 2007 - 03:58:56 EDT

> I think your interpretation is correct on all these points, and this passage
> would, I think, be hard for those who identify value input in the
> transformationprocess with money spent, to reconcile with their view of
> Marx.

I agree. And more importantly a labour theory of value must explain
prices in terms of labour time, not in terms of prices.

Here's a relevant quote from Mill (1848):

The idea of a Measure of Value must not be confounded with the idea of
the regulator, or determining principle, of value. When it is said by
Ricardo and others, that the value of a thing is regulated by quantity
of labour, they do not mean the quantity of labour for which the thing
will exchange, but the quantity required for producing it. This, they
mean to affirm, determines its value; causes it to be of the value it
is, and of no other. But when Adam Smith and Malthus say that labour
is a measure of value, they do not mean the labour by which the thing
was or can be made, but the quantity of labour which it will exchange
for, or purchase; in other words the value of the thing, estimated in
labour. And they do not mean that this regulates the general exchange
value of the thing, or has any effect in determining what that value
shall be, but only ascertains what it is, and whether and how much it
varies from time to time and from place to place. To confound these
two ideas, would be much the same thing as to overlook the distinction
between the thermometer and the fire.

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