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date: 20 January 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This article reviews the three conceptual stages of the determinants of the commodities’ value in Marx’s Capital. It concludes that the dynamic second stage (designed in 1866–1867) overrules the third stage—of prices of production (designed 1864–1865). The first stage (Capital I, Part 1) is an important, though static averages account, positing that the commodities’ value is determined by average socially necessary labor time. The second stage (Capital I, Part 4) is a dynamic account of the “intensity of labour” and the mainly technology determined “productive power of labour,” each one implying, first, that clock-time of labor is an insufficient measure and, second, that rates of surplus value diverge between sectors of production. Whereas intensity determined intersector rates of surplus value might equalize due to intralabor competition, Marx posits no mechanism for such equalization regarding the technology determined productive power. The third stage posits the transformation of values into prices of production (Capital III, Part 2—its text being based on a manuscript from 1864–1865). The article’s main finding is that the determinant of the “technology associated productive power” was a novel result of Marx’s 1866–1867 final version of Capital I (1867). It makes Marx’s earlier third stage redundant.

Keywords: Marx on value, Marx on labor productivity, labor's productive power, intensity of labor, static and dynamic commodity value, transformation of value

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