LTV: An encore

Steve.Keen at unsw.EDU.AU Steve.Keen at unsw.EDU.AU
Tue Aug 2 16:36:01 MDT 1994

Paul argued that
"If the labour theory of value is rejected, then the entirely of
the classical and marxist objective approach to political economy
falls in favour of a subjectivist approach.
If the feasibilty of socialist economic calculation, a very
closely related topic, is rejected, then there can be no
coherent socialist politics."

I would make two comments on this:

1) Post-Keynesian and Sraffian economics both effectively have
an objectivist, not subjectivist approach, yet both reject
the labor theory of value--though it can be asserted, as Marxists
have, that they have no theory of value themselves.

2) My papers argue that Marx's derived his theory of value from
his concepts of use-value/exchange-value, and that, properly
applied, these concepts actually contradict the labor theory of
value's assertion that labor-power is the only source of new
value. All inputs to production are potential sources of
surplus, as is implicitly argued by Post-keynesian and Sraffian

In other words, it is possible to reject the labor theory of
value without having to adopt a subjectivist perspective. The
LTV is a particular manifestation of an objective approach,
not the only one.

Steve Keen


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