Michael Kidron

Marx’s Theory of Value

(Spring 1968)

From Letters from Our Readers, International Socialism (1st series), No. 32, Spring 1968, pp.  8–12.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.

‘In theory it is assumed that the laws of capitalist production operate in their pure form. In reality there exists only approximation; but, this approximation is the greater, the more developed the capitalist mode of production and the less it is adulterated and amalgamated with survivals of former economic conditions.’ (Marx) [1]

It seems improbable that marxists should have spent a century defending two very abstract propositions: that values are measured by the amount of time necessarily and actively spent in creating them, and that under certain stringently-defined and wholly artificial conditions equal values exchange. It is at least as improbable that anti-marxists should have spent as much time attacking them, or that a blander school of non-marxists should now bother to deny their relevance. Yet in different tones and with different talent, they have done so and, as this shows, are still doing so.

1. The Propositions

Like all societies capitalism manages to allocate its labour and distribute its output more or less systematically. Alone amongst them it does so unintendingly, without overall planning. And it does so while sustaining an exceptionally fast rate of growth and despite intense and disruptive class struggle. However one looks at it, this is an extraordinary achievement. Its explanation is the substance of classical political economy. Basic to it are the two propositions with which we started. And in the same way as the explanation at Marx’s hands went well beyond capitalism’s coherence and equilibrium to encompass its development and decay, so did the two standard propositions come to fulfil uncommonly explicit and important functions. The first anchored his model of capitalism to historical materialism: it measured the achievements of this society, the extent of its mastery over the environment, on a scale common to all – the cost in socially significant human effort. The second fastened on the element of normalcy, regularity, law within the system, without which it could not persist. Together they articulated a model that featured the most significant relationships in capitalist society as its own.

Few of these relationships were Marx’s discovery. Class struggle, accumulation, exploitation, expansion were attributed to the system before him, and without reference to him subsequently. What was new was his attempt to relate these known facts to each other systematically and above all quantitatively, and to do so in terms that both dealt in and rejected the categories used in justifying the system to its members, that is, critically.

Take class struggle. To say that labour power is a commodity, that is, useless to its owner unless exchanged, is not very significant in itself. To say that it must exchange at its value; that this value is measured by tie amount of time necessarily and actively spent in its creation and renewal; that this amount of time is manifestly less than the duration for which labour power is bought; and that the difference is the measure of exploitation, or the time spent creating the flow of profits, rent, interest – is more than interesting. It puts class struggle in a social context. It provides a criterion for differentiating one type of income from another – income from work and income from ‘property’ (that is, from the exercise of social power). On a different plane, it explains the reality of inequality as well as the appearance of equal rights; the realities of dependence and compulsion as well as the appearance of contractual freedom. Or take accumulation and growth. The time .necessary and actively spent in production – Marx’s ‘socially necessary labour time’ – is contingent on technology and its application. Neither being evenly spread through the economy, there is a gap between what is individually- and what is socially-necessary, between individual and normal productivity. In its positive aspect, this gap is the source of above average profits. To exploit it by using ‘shadow,’ normal costs instead of actual, individual costs, and to widen it by innovation, speed-up or whatever, become through competition the operational goals of each capital. That they are paradoxical and ultimately self-defeating goals is true: above-average profits derive from a successful bid to push back the sway of ruling, normal costs, while these costs are themselves established through the normalisation and socialisation of the special circumstances which make above-average profits possible. They are none the less compulsive for that; and their effect is to be seen in the dynamism of the capitalist economy, in the fact that growth is a condition of its existence. In both cases – and they are representative – the facts are seldom disputed. Even their configuration might be allowed. What is never conceded is that they are linked and consistent with the two quantitative propositions on which Marx’s value theory rests. To do so would be to concede the ism as well as the man.

2. The ‘Reduction Problem’

For a century or so neither proposition has gained much of a hearing outside the socialist tradition. The first – value is measured by the time actively and necessarily spent in its creation, by ‘socially necessary labour time’ – has been rejected on a number of grounds, the most important being that labour is not homogeneous and cannot be reduced to ‘simple, average labour,’ that is to ‘the expenditure of simple labour-power, ... labour-power which, on an average, apart from any special development, exists in the organism of every ordinary individual.’ [2]

One critic saw ‘this problem [as] certainly the most serious difficulty met by an inherent criticism of Marxist economies’ and one without solution. [3] Others, from Böhm-Bawerk [4] through Bernstein [5] down to Joan Robinson [6] have picked on it as a crucial weakness.

Marx himself did not give it much attention. He thought it enough to state that ‘the different proportions in which different sorts of labour are reduced to unskilled labour as their standard, are established by a social process that goes on behind the backs of the producers, and, consequently, appear to be fixed by custom’ [7]; that the social process in question was one of enriching simple skills through education and upbringing which ‘costs an equivalent in commodities of a greater or less amount’ [8]; and that the use of these enriched skills produces ‘labour of a higher class, labour that creates in equal times proportionately higher values than unskilled labour does.’ [9] He saw the level of skills as something analogous to the organic composition of capital and the use of skilled labour in production as analogous to the transfer of accumulated labour (constant capital) to the product, with one crucial difference, that in the latter case there is a simple transfer of value and in the former not.

Marx let the matter remain even vaguer than the analogy implies. He spent little time on justifying unskilled labour time as the measure of value: it was enough that ‘unskilled labour constitutes the bulk of all labour performed in capitalist society.’ [10] There seemed no reason to be more explicit, for at the time to reduce skilled to simple labour was to distil in theory a real and clearly noticeable social process in which the predominant skills (in agriculture and handicrafts) were being ruined; the use of undifferentiated, unskilled labour was growing explosively; and the social nature of individual labour, its role in the total division of labour, was being reaffirmed daily as a wholly external fact, embodied in machinery and in the organising will of capital. If the problem of reduction obtruded it was because skilled wages were so disproportionate to the going rate for simple labour; if it was thought to be fairly unimportant nonetheless, it was because newly-employed skills were still relatively few.

Times changed. Under pressure from the critics and from the growing mass, variety and definition in the skills used by capital, marxists laboured to refine the original statement. Hilferding’s formulation of 1904 has remained more or less the stock answer to this day. As he put it,

‘For the production of ... skilled labour power ... a number of unskilled labours [are] requisite ...

‘Its expenditure consequently signifies the expenditure of all the different unskilled labours which are simultaneously condensed therein ...

‘In what it has to give for the product of skilled labour, society consequently pays an equivalent for the value which the unskilled labours would have created had they been directly consumed by society.’ Of course, ‘a skilled labour may contain, not unskilled labour alone, but in addition skilled labours of a different kind,’ but ‘these in their turn are reducible to unskilled labour.’ [11]

Although echoed since by most marxist writers on the subject [12], it is an unsatisfactory answer. In the actual process of education as it takes place in schools, at the apprentice’s bench or at home, the labour used in creating skills is itself skilled labour by and large, which in turn owes its provenance to the input of skills and so on through the reaches of time past. This must always have been true – enough at least to justify Marx’s perfunctoriness about the reduction process – but never more than today when manual labour is typically skilled or semi-skilled, and unskilled labour however defined (and most definitions include a skill component) forms only a fifth or so of the whole. [13]

It would satisfy one’s sense of history and of aptness if skilled labour time could be substituted as the measure of value. It would also simplify the arithmetic, since a narrowing of differentials always accompanies a general enrichment with skills. [14] But skills are nothing if not concrete, and nothing concrete can serve as a general measure of value. For if it is difficult to translate the value of, say, an electrician’s labour power into that of a labourer’s, even though all electricians can work as labourers, it is impossible to effect the translation as between an electrician and, say, an engineering fitter. Neither exercises that ‘labour-power which, on an average, apart from any special development, exists in the organism of every ordinary individual.’ Each is immobilised by the other’s particular concrete skill. In fine, while skilled labour is representative where unskilled labour is now not, it lacks the universalism which unskilled labour still has. A measure of value needs both. In Marx’s day the two combined naturally in unskilled labour. It was the typical form of labour – and so representative; it was functionally subordinated to capital, socialised so to speak, only at work, to which it brought no more than brute force – and so universal. Today labour’s functional subordination to capital is more total; integration and socialisation occurs as much off the job as on it – in education, in leisure, via the media; it brings to work specialism, functional immobility, the need to combine in fairly fixed proportions not only with external capital but with itself. If, therefore, in Marx’s day the social character of labour could be represented by an individual labour power, today it cannot. What is employed now is a composite, a blending of individual skills into a collective unit, which, although unrecognised in theory, exists in practice as the recipient of collective bonuses, the product of industrial training schemes, of educational efforts or of recruiting drives. In effect, it is what moves between industries. There is nothing abhorrent to Marx’s method in this. On the contrary: in order to eliminate random differences in the work intensity and inherent skill of individual workers, he posited an ‘average social labour’ which resulted ‘whenever a certain minimum number of workmen are employed together.’ [15] In another connexion he posited an ‘average capital’ (with ‘the same, or approximately the same structure as the average social capital’) as a limit towards which ‘all other capitals, of whatever composition, tend.’ [16] A composite labour power, weighted in accordance with the skill composition of the total social labour force – a standard composite, as it were – is of the same genre.

Its use does not ‘solve’ the reduction problem. The blend of skills in each industry is unlikely to coincide with that of the standard composite, and some sort of reduction process – from non-standard to standard composites – is still needed. But since industries and, more particularly, the large capitals that straddle them share a narrower range of composites than the range of individual skills within them; and since the range of composites narrows as the composition of capitals becomes increasingly uniform (as will be shown in Section 4 below), the problem is reduced in importance and tends to disappear in practice. At the same time the measure of value is shifted from the individual to the collective plane where it obviously now belongs.

3. A Methodological Interlude

A more general objection, which, if upheld, would destroy the argument not only in Section 2 but throughout this article, is that it is pointless to seek empirical evidence for Marx’s categories. He was, after all, dealing with the ‘reality behind the reality,’ the essence beneath the surface of phenomena. In this view, occasionally, if furtively, held by contributors to this journal, it does not matter at all if the concept ‘simple labour’ (or ‘value,’ or ‘surplus value’ presumably) has an objective correlative; importance attaches only to the coherence of the model that requires the concept and to its ability to illumine reality whether or no it mirrors it.

It can be admitted at once that no model mirrors reality in all its detail: scaling down – the building of the model – is a process of exclusion and simplification, and scaling up again – the model’s use – replaces the original rich texture of uniqueness with flat expanses of generalisation and abstraction. So much is true. What is untrue, is that the process of scaling down can produce categories that have no objective correlative; or that in the contrary process of scaling up features essential to the model can be made to disappear. To suppose anything else is to justify the use of ideas as a pure convenience. Marx was aware of the need to root his categories in reality. Paradoxically, Capital is at its most empirical when dealing with the larger abstractions – as in Volume I. The subsequent two volumes, in which successively closer approximations are made to the actual functioning of the system, are by contrast almost devoid of factual material. No doubt this is partly due to the fact that Marx did not prepare the published text himself; but mostly, as can be seen from Engels’ Introductions, it is because there was so little. Presumably Marx felt it more important to anchor a grand generalisation in experience, than a small one. ‘Abstract labour’ or ‘labour in general’ was one of the grandest. Yet it ‘has found its highest development in the most modern of bourgeois societies, the United States.’ [17] The reduction process was another. Yet, although it ‘appears to be an abstraction ... it is an abstraction which takes place daily in the social process of production.’ [18]

If it is ‘British empiricism’ to appeal outside the model in justifying its categories, Marx, despite his accent, despite his philosophy and despite his own protestations, was a ‘British empiricist’ of a high order.

4. The ‘Transformation Problem’

The need for verification sustained the longest, most exhaustive and boring of the debates on the Labour Theory, relating to its second proposition – that value equivalents exchange. In the first Volume of Capital, Marx conveniently assumed that capital and labour-power combined in a fixed value proportion – the organic composition of capital was given; that labour-power was used at the same intensity and for the same length of time in all cases – the rate of surplus value, or exploitation, was given; and that, as a result, surplus value accrued to capital in proportion to its size – the rate of profit was everywhere the same. Prices therefore equalled values and the proposition about value equivalents exchanging presented no difficulty. In Volume III, one of these restrictive assumptions was dropped: the rate of exploitation was still held constant, but capital and labour-power were allowed, as realism demands, to combine in different value proportions. One of two conclusions had now to be drawn: either the rate of profit on different capitals varied in line with their organic compositions and prices coincided with values – which was manifestly not the case, nor could be so long as capital was free to move from less to more profitable spheres; or prices diverged from values in such a way as to more or less equalise profit rates. Obviously this was what was happening. Equally obviously, the systematic divergence demanded clarification.

Marx set about the problem in Part II of the third volume of Capital. Essentially what he did was to aggregate separate capitals into one social capital and redistribute the total profit (equal to the total surplus value) among the capital components in proportion to their size. For an individual capital, total revenue (price of production) would then be equal to cost price (that is, depreciation on fixed capital and outlay on circulating capital and wages) plus its share of total profit, or cost price plus the average rate of profit. A capital of low organic composition (relatively labour intensive) would receive a revenue below the value of its product; a capital of high organic composition (relatively capital intensive) would price its products above their value. Not to do so would be to induce a congestion of capital and low profits in labour-intensive sectors, scarcity of capital and high profits in capital-intensive ones, with consequent redistribution of investment until each capital was satisfied that it was receiving the ruling rate of profit.

Marx illustrated his argument with a minimum of fuss. He was interested in showing that values can be transformed into prices, that the exchange of value-equivalents on which his theories of exploitation and surplus value rested, although modified, still held – and this he did.

The illustration was not intended as proof. In particular, he explicitly abstracted from the complications introduced by different capitals’ use of each others’ outputs as inputs [19] and so accomplished only half the ‘transformation’ required: in effect, each capital’s output was ‘priced’ but its inputs were ‘valued.’ The formal problem thus remained: to find a ratio of price to value, whether a commodity was considered as output or input, that would ensure a rate of profit common to all capitals. The critics naturally thought this impossible; nor was the immediate defence too productive. It was left to latter-day Ricardians, Ladislaus van Bortkiewicz, a statistician at Berlin University in the first third of the century, and, implicitly, Piero Sraffa, editor of Ricardo’s Works at Cambridge, to open and decisively close the solution.

There is no point in tracing their arguments here. It is enough to say that Bortkiewicz constructed a determinate equational system (in which the number of unknowns was no more than the number of equations) from Marx’s conditions of equilibrium as set out in Part III of the second volume of Capital and so arrived at a formally satisfactory solution [20]; and that Sraffa, in an ambitious and formidable work, Production of Commodities by Means of Commodities, showed there to be one set of price ratios for every fractional breakdown of output between wages and profits. [21] Marx has been vindicated, even if not by marxists. While economists have puzzled over the ‘transformation problem,’ investing it with an importance never intended, reality has moved in an opposite direction – towards an increasing uniformity of organic compositions in different industries. This was to be expected on general grounds. As Marx points out, ‘at first, capital subordinates labour on the basis of the technical conditions in which it historically finds it. It does not, therefore, change immediately the mode of production.’ [22] Ultimately, however, it does; at first haphazardly as technical innovation occurs now in one, then in another industry, in response to market pressures or pure chance. Then more systematically as innovation and with it the deepening of industry’s capital structure – the raising of its organic composition – becomes the organised output of research and development teams, themselves the planned product of national educational apparatuses. In this process the most traditional, labour-intensive industries have farthest to go and make the greatest relative progress. Empirical backing is not easy to find. The ruling schools of economics have no use for capital : labour (value) ratios and spend no time elaborating them from the raw data to be found in censuses of production; marxist economics is denied the resources of orthodoxy which would make such elaboration possible. Nonetheless, what meagre evidence exists supports the thesis that these ratios (if only in their bastard form – capital [value] : labour [quantity]) are converging and that, more directly, the range, or dispersal, of industry organic compositions in this form is narrowing remarkably quickly On the first point, the fact of convergence – of fourteen British industries ordered by relative capital : labour ratios (in the above sense) in 1961, five of the first seven showed a lower than average rate of growth in this ratio between 1948 and 1964, and four of the bottom seven – an above average increase. [23] On the second point – the speed of convergence – it is possible to show that the dispersal of US industries, as represented by the five hundred largest firms, around the median, as represented by assets per employee, fell by more than two-fifths between 1960 and 1967; or, more rigorously, the coefficient of variation from the median fell from 75.4 to 43.0 in those eight years. [24]

It would be wrong to suggest that Marx’s Volume I assumption of a single organic composition of capital was intended as anything more than an expository device. It would be as wrong, however, to assert – as Sweezy does – that there is ‘no justification [for it] in actual tendencies at work in a competitive capitalist economy;’ or that ‘there is obviously nothing to bring the ratios of constant to variable capital in the steel and clothing industries into conformity;’ and that it is this unreality which distinguishes it from others of Marx’s propositions, such as the tendency of profit rates towards equality. On the contrary, the growth in scale of manufacturing, its increasing technological intensity, the increasing organisation and planning of research, all on a background of labour shortage and compulsive economic growth, are in fact prodding the steel and clothing industries into conformity, as they are prodding reality closer to Marx’s proposition. [25]

5. Supercession by Planning?

The ‘non’-marxist critique spares itself the pain of wrestling with Marx’s own categories: they were useful in his time but irrelevant today. Marx should rest embalmed in his own distinction, and be ignored except in as much as he has been pacified and annexed.

One variant originated with the debate on value theory in post-revolutionary Russia. It is still reverberating through the non-Chinese Eastern Bloc and has even found a sophisticated echo in non-Stalinist circles in the West. It states simply that planning and the Law of Value (in its ‘exchange of equivalents’ aspect) are diametrically opposed and mutually exclusive principles of economic organisation; the one denies existence to the other. In its refined, academic version it states, less simply, that since understanding, intention and behaviour are inseparable, social ‘laws’ as distinct from physical ones lose their compelling character through being formulated; that Marx, by revealing the principles by which capitalism organises itself, effectively annulled them. At its most sophisticated, this view would agree with Marx in denying explicitly an identity between formulating a social ‘law’ and its supercession, between recognition and annulment; [26] would admit that between the one and the other an institutional bridge need be built; but would say, so it has been, or is being, built – from Russia to the United States planning is respectable, needs are foreseen, catered for, and the ‘common mind’ of the ‘agents of production’ which Marx would not or could not envisage as reality, is to be found in the Planning Commissions or their equivalents in every capital city.

In a sense they are right. The evidence of planning is plain. But the evidence has always been there. There has always been a measure of planning under capitalism and the picture today is very little different – scale for scale – from what it was in Marx’s day. What the critics have done is present a false disjunction between the Law of Value and planning; between compulsion and choice; necessity and freedom. Under capitalism, the antonyms are and always have been inseparable; individual capitals have always attempted to evade the full consequences of planlessness by extending their own spheres of control. Their growth as a result has always resulted in even greater anarchy. Marx was explicit and repetitive on this: ‘in a society with capitalist production,’ he concluded, ‘anarchy in the social division of labour and despotism in that of the workshop are mutual conditions the one of the other.’ [27] Others, from an intellectual tradition more congenial to the agnostic critics, have taken a narrower view, but are emphatic enough: ‘the development of the modern business enterprise can be understood only as a comprehensive effort to reduce risk. It is not going too far to say that it can be understood in no other terms.’ [28] Nor can it. At the very least, capital must see that its outlay on labour-power, raw materials and so on is no more than at ruling prices; and that they are employed at the prevailing standards of efficiency. Anything less would result in a lower than average rate of profit, a relative decline in competitive ability and ultimate extinction. Anything more, however, results in setting new standards for productivity, for the ‘socially necessary labour time,’ that other capitals must in the end adopt. The imposition of these new standards, as the preservation of the old, is the foundation of despotic planning. In other words, the transformation of competition’s planlessness into planning is the specific function of capital, the ruling class’s only justification. And if the attempt to limit the effect of planlessness results in expanding the area of planning – through accumulation, concentration, the formation of monopolies, trusts, cartels and even national capital units – this is no proof of anarchy’s supercession but of its displacement.

To prove supercession, the critics need to show that the relations between individual capitals are determined a priori. This they can still do for the state capitalist countries. Even in Yugoslavia, the most ‘devolved’ and ‘reformed’ of them all, ‘the government uses various market instruments in order to make the Social Plan workable and efficient and to attain planned goals.’ [29] In the countries of orthodox capitalism, the thesis would be more difficult to prove, but at least it is arguable within each national state. But internationally the system still forms in the classic capitalist manner – there is no goal, no a priori purpose, no fundamental check to the spontaneity of competition. Final authority is dispersed over a number of independent governments, each important enough for its decisions to be crucial to those of all the others yet each taking its decisions independently and privately, and so with inherently unforeseeable consequences. The resulting extreme vulnerability of each to all leads to consistent attempts to speed up national responses to international economic events, that is to plan and centralise economic control in each national centre. Planning is reactive, not autonomous.

Such planning breeds planning. A product of international integration and competition, it destroys the automatism of international adjustment – pure in theory, less so but still there in practice – and the world market becomes an increasingly unstable environment, demanding faster national adjustment, increasing national articulation and so more planning. The distinction between the national economy in which competition is heteronomous, one method of attaining goals set by international competition, and the international economy where primordial competition still holds, grows sharper and sharper. Naturally attempts are made to order the international environment, to plan the planning: the wilful or inexpert use of the policy discretion now available to each national capital is potentially so dangerous to the rest that intense diplomatic pressure – backed by the threat of financial and political sanctions – is brought to bear to compel the adoption of particular policies. But the results are neither lasting nor universal. If nothing else, the level of world spending on armaments is witness to their limitations.

Capitalism is still a competitive system; and the law of value still the basis for its analysis.


1. Capital, Moscow: Foreign Languages Publishing House, 1961–2, Volume III, p. 172.

2. Capital I, p. 44.

3. Rudolph Schlesinger, Marx, His Time and Ours, London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1950, p. 129.

4. Eugen von Bohm-Bawerk, Karl Marx and the Close of his System, in Bohm-Bawerk, Karl Marx etc. and Rudolf Hilferding, Böhm-Bawerk’s Criticism of Marx, edited with an introduction by Paul M. Sweezy, New York: Augustus M. Kelly, 1949, pp. 81ff.

5. Eduard Bernstein, On the Meaning of the Marxist Theory of Value, in Evolutionary Socialism, London: ILP, 1909.

6. Joan Robinson, Economic Philosophy, Penguin Books, 1964, p. 44.

7. Capital I, p. 44.

8. Ibid., p. 172.

9. Ibid., p. 197.

10. A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy, Calcutta: Bharati Library, [n.d.], p. 25. (Henceforth Critique.)

11. Rudolf Hilferding, op. cit., pp. 144–6.

12. A post-war crop would include Paul M. Sweezy, The Theory of Capitalist Development, London: Dennis Dobson, 1946, pp. 42–4; Ronald L Meek, Studies in the Labour Theory of Value, London: Lawrence & Wishart, 1956, pp. 172–3; Ernest Mandel, Traité d’économie marxiste, Paris: Julliard, 1962, Vol. I, p. 78.

13. See Guy Routh, Occupation and Pay in Great Britain, 1906–1960, Cambridge University Press, 1965, pp. 3–6, 42.

14. See ibid., pp. 53–9, passim for figures covering this century in Britain.

15. Capital I, pp. 323–4.

16. Capital III, p. 171.

17. Critique, p. 299.

18. Ibid., p. 24.

19. ‘There is always the possibility of an error if the cost-price of a commodity ... is identified with the value of the means of production consumed by it. Our present analysis does not necessitate a closer examination of this point.’ (Capital III, p. 162.)

20. Bortkiewicz’s major article on the subject, On the Correction of Marx’s Fundamental Theoretical Construction in the Third Volume of Capital was originally published in 1907. Translated by Sweezy, it forms an Appendix to his edition of the Bohm-Bawerk/Hilferding debate, op. cit.

21. Cambridge University Press, 1960. Its high level of abstraction is as responsible as the low level of current marxist scholarship for Sraffa’s neglect. An appeal to Maurice Dobb and, indirectly, to Sraffa himself, elicited a total of five extended reviews from a marxist standpoint and one assessment in the five years following publication of his book.

A bibliography of English-language attempts at a solution of the ‘transformation problem’ in the period between Bortkiewicz and Sraffa can be found in Ronald L. Meek, Some Notes on the ‘Transformation Problem’, reprinted in Economics and Ideology and Other Essays, London: Chapman & Hall, 1967, p. 143.

22. Capital I, p. 310. The observation recurs a great number of times.

23. R.J. Nicholson, Capital Stock, Employment and Output in British Industry 1948–1964, Yorkshire Bulletin of Economic and Social Research, November 1966, Table 3, p. 81.

24. Fortune, Directory of the Five Hundred Largest US Corporations, mid-July issue of respective years.

25. If the textile industry might stand for Sweezy’s ‘clothing industry,’ and metal manufacturing for steel, the ratio of assets per employee in the two industries declined from 1 : 2.1 to 1 : 1.5 between 1959 and 1967. (From Fortune, loc. cit.)

26. Cf. Marx: ‘The determination of the magnitude of value by labour-time is therefore a secret, hidden under the apparent fluctuations in the relative values of commodities. Its discovery ... in no way alters the mode in which that determination takes place’ (Capital I, p. 75, and passim).

27. Capital I, p. 356. See the entire section: Division of Labour in Manufacture, and Division of Labour in Society.

28. John Kenneth Galbraith, The Affluent Society, Penguin Books, 1962, p. 91.

29. Svetozar Pejovich, The Market-Planned Economy of Yugoslavia, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1966, p. 56.

Last updated on 22 October 2020