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18. Value and Prices of Production (A Logical Interpretation)

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Chapter Summary

The transformation of values into production prices, a subject to which Marx devoted fewer than twenty pages, is generally considered to be the Achilles' heel of the Marxist theory of value. Economists - Marxists and non-Marxists alike - have especially focused on the mathematical aspect of the problem. This chapter first presents the transformation problem as Marx outlines it, and indicates the key ideas that form the basis of the interesting mathematical solutions. It then formulates a new interpretation. Production prices constitute relative centres around which prices oscillate. These are relative centres, since production prices themselves oscillate around a universal centre, namely, value. The chapter concludes by raising the question: Is the relation between abstract labour at the level of society, including in its quantitative dimension, and the 'laws of the market', not better grasped using this syllogistic system?

Keywords: abstract labour; exchange value; Marxist theory; production prices

10.1163/9789004256262_023
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