The Productive Powers of Labour and the Redundant Transformation to Prices of Production

A Marx-immanent Critique and Reconstruction

in Historical Materialism
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Abstract

The famous Marxian ‘transformation problem’ originated from a research manuscript written by Marx in 1864/65, from which Engels assembled Capital iii (1894). Unequal capital compositions, equal rates of surplus-value and equal rates of profit among different sectors are posited, and reconciled using the problematic concept of ‘prices of production’. Yet the assumption of equal rates of surplus-value is at odds with the subsequent text of Capital i (1867), where Marx presents various determinants of the rate of surplus-value, and connects productive powers of labour diverging between sectors with divergent value-generating potencies of labour. Given the other determinants, diverging rates of surplus-value then result. Marx disregarded these productive power differentials when he originally formulated his transformation. In a reconstruction, building on Capital i, this omission is rectified. It makes prices of production and hence the dual account systems redundant. The transformation problem then evaporates.

The Productive Powers of Labour and the Redundant Transformation to Prices of Production

A Marx-immanent Critique and Reconstruction

in Historical Materialism

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References

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