LTV correction on categories transformation problem.pdf


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A category-mistake in the classical labor theory of value:
identification and resolution
Ian Wrighta,1
a

Economics, Faculty of Social Sciences, The Open University, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes, MK7 6AA, UK.

Abstract
The classical labor theory of value generates two well-known antinomies: Ricardo’s problem of an invariable
measure of value and Marx’s transformation problem. I show that both antinomies are generated by the same
category-mistake of expecting a technical measure of labor cost to function as a total measure of labor cost. This
category-mistake is the deep conceptual generator of the two hundred year history of the ‘value controversy’.
Once identified we can avoid the category-mistake, which yields a labor theory of value with an invariable
measure of value and without a transformation problem.
Keywords: classical political economy, labor theory of value, ricardo, marx
JEL: B51, E11, D46

Email address: wrighti@acm.org (Ian Wright)
This work is the result of my current PhD studies supervised by Andrew Trigg at the Open University. Feedback from many
people have helped me refine the ideas that resulted in this paper. I’d particularly like to express gratitude to Andrew Trigg, David
Zachariah, Fernando Martins, Angelo Reati, Peter Flaschel and members of the OPE-L discussion group.
1

Electronic copy available at: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1963018