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Three Essays on Marxs Value Theory

Three Essays on Marxs Value Theory

Copyright Date: 2013
Published by: NYU Press,
Pages: 96
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  • Book Info
    Three Essays on Marxs Value Theory
    Book Description:

    In this slim, insightful volume, noted economist Samir Amin returns to the core of Marxian economic thought: Marx's theory of value. He begins with the same question that Marx, along with the classical economists, once pondered: how can every commodity, including labor power, sell at its value on the market and still produce a profit for owners of capital? While bourgeois economists attempted to answer this question according to the categories of capitalist society itself, Marx sought to peer through the surface phenomena of market transactions and develop his theory by examining the actual social relations they obscured. The debate over Marx's conclusions continues to this day. Amin defends Marx's theory of value against its critics and also tackles some of its trickier aspects. He examines the relationship between Marx's abstract concepts - such as socially necessary labor time - and how they are manifested in the capitalist marketplace as prices, wages, rents, and so on. He also explains how variations in price are affected by the development of monopoly- capitalism, the abandonment of the gold standard, and the deepening of capitalism as a global system. Amin extends Marx's theory and applies it to capitalism's current trajectory in a way that is unencumbered by the weight of orthodoxy and unafraid of its own radical conclusions.

    eISBN: 978-1-58367-426-0
    Subjects: Economics

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. 1-4)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. 5-6)
  3. I. Social Value and the Price-Income System
    (pp. 7-64)

    I begin with a personal note. I first read Marx when I was twenty years of age and then reread him every twenty years at moments that corresponded to major changes in the course of history. I read him in 1950, when hidden behind the East-West conflict and the first Southern awakening was taking shape, revealed in the 1955 Bandung Conference. In 1970, as director of the African Institute for Economic Development and Planning (IDEP) in Dakar, I formed the project of making Marx a focus for training and discussion that would contribute to radicalization of the way forward opened...

  4. II. The Surplus in Monopoly Capitalism and the Imperialist Rent
    (pp. 65-78)

    Paul baran and paul sweezy dared, and were able, to continue the work begun by Marx. Starting from the observation that capitalism’s inherent tendency was to allow increases in the value of labor power (wages) only at a rate lower than the rate of increase in the productivity of social labor, they deduced that the disequilibrium resulting from this distortion would lead to stagnation absent systematic organization of ways to absorb the excess profits stemming from that tendency.

    This observation was the starting point for the definition they gave to the new concept of “surplus.” Baran then extended Marx’s analysis...

  5. III. Abstract Labor and the Wage-Scale
    (pp. 79-90)

    The concept of abstract labor, formulated by Marx, defines the common denominator allowing summation of different forms of simple (unskilled) and complex (skilled) labor. We are dealing with a concept central to the theory of value.

    The unit of abstract labor, whether an hour or a year of abstract social labor, is a composite unit combining units of simple (unskilled) and complex (skilled) labor in some given proportion.

    The concept of abstract labor is central to Marx’s elaboration of the law of value, that is, to the determination of a commodity’s value by the quantity of labor required to produce...

  6. References and Complementary Readings
    (pp. 91-94)
  7. Notes
    (pp. 95-96)