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On the Labor Theory of Value as the Basis for the Analysis of Economic Inequality in the Capitalist Economy

Naoki Yoshihara

No 724, Discussion Paper Series from Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University

Abstract: In this paper, we have reviewed the labor theory of value as the basis for the analysis of economic inequality in the capitalist economy. According to the standard Marxian view, the system of labor values of individual commodities can serve as the center of gravity for long-term price fluctuations in the precapitalist economy with simple commodity-production, where no exploitative social relation emerges, while in the modern capitalist economy, the labor value system is replaced by the prices of production associated with an equal positive rate of profits as the center of gravity, in which exploitative relation between the capitalist and the working classes is a generic and persistent feature of economic inequality. Some of the literature such as Morishima (1973, 1974) criticized this view by showing that the labor values of individual commodities are no longer well-defined if the capitalist economy has joint production. Given these arguments, this paper firstly shows that the system of individual labor values can be still well-defined in the capitalist economy with joint production whenever the set of available production techniques is all-productive. Secondly, this paper shows that it is generally impossible to verify that the labor-value pricing serves as the center of gravity for price fluctuations in precapitalist economies characterized by the full development of simple commodity-production.

Keywords: UE-Exploitation; The Labor Theory of Value; Prices of Production (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D51 D63 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 21 pages
Date: 2021-08
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-hme, nep-isf and nep-pke
Note: July 8, 2021
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:hit:hituec:724

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