Date of Award
Program or Major
Doctor of Philosophy
The purpose of this dissertation is to show that the basic framework of Marx's analysis of capitalism is sufficiently independent of the labor theory of value to survive the replacement of the labor theory of value with a Sraffian-based commodity theory of value. It addresses a problem posed by such economists as Joan Robinson and Ian Steedman. They criticize the labor theory value from a Sraffian perspective. They argue that economists should use a basically Marxian framework when analyzing capitalism, but not use the labor theory of value. The question then arises as to what remains of Marx's work when the labor theory of value is not used. This dissertation makes a major contribution towards the solution of that problem.
Specifically, this dissertation makes the following contributions to the discipline of economics. (1) It clearly and consciously elaborates on the fact that Sraffa is using a theory of value which is distinct from both the Marxist theory of value and the neoclassical theory of value. (2) It shows that Sraffa is using what may be termed a commodity theory of value. This commodity theory of value may in some ways be seen to be a generalization of Marx's labor theory of value. In Marx's theoretical system only one commodity, labor power, can create value and surplus value. Within Sraffa's system, any commodity can create value and surplus value, when that commodity is used to make more commodities. (3) It posits that the commodity theory of value is so close to the labor theory of value that it may be used in place of the labor theory of value in Marx's analysis of capitalism. (4) It actually reworks Marx's account of the theoretical genesis of capital on the basis of a commodity theory of value rather than the labor theory of value.
The dissertation concludes that one may indeed rework Marx's account of the theoretical genesis of capital based upon a commodity theory of value rather than upon the labor theory of value.
PACK, SPENCER JAY, "THE THEORETICAL GENESIS OF CAPITAL USING A COMMODITY THEORY OF VALUE" (1983). Doctoral Dissertations. 1391.