Ricardo’s and Marx’s Conception of Absolute and Relative Value: A Critical Overview


This paper examines Ricardo’s and Marx’s views on absolute and relative value, focusing on the parallels and differences in their analysis of labor values. Next, it discusses Marx’s ingenious but incomplete “solution” to the problem of how it is possible for a rigorous and consistent labor theory of value to operate in a competitive capitalist economy. It then gives an overview of Sraffa’s seminal contribution to the problem of constructing an invariable standard of value which meets Ricardo’s exacting criteria, as well as resolving Marx’s transformation conundrum—one which involves abandoning the labor theory of value. The latter comes at the heavy price of discarding those qualitative and dialectal (dynamic) elements in Marx’s class-based and historical approach which, more so than the classical (surplus) approach, make it such a valuable tool for understanding the social (power) relations of capitalism, as well as cutting through its ideological obfuscations.

Volume :- No.16 (2022)

Issue No :- 2(2022)

Pages :- 103-132

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