The autonomization of abstract wealth: new insights on the labor theory of value

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Rotta, Tomas Nielsen ; Teixeira, Rodrigo Alves (2016)

We theorize the forms of value in the Marxist system in a way that challenges the dominant tradition. The standard procedure has been to read Marx’s Capital as an analysis that begins at a high level of abstraction and moves toward more concrete concepts. Our alternative approach posits that the forms of value in the Marxist system evolve from more concrete toward more abstract forms of wealth that increasingly separate from and obscure labor exploitation. Our procedure therefore replaces the dominant interpretation of ‘successive approximations’ employed by most scholars. We develop a broader account of Marx’s project alongside textual evidence retrieved from many of his writings. We also provide a new way to incorporate the monetary, financial, and rentier forms of wealth into Marx’s labor value theory. The proposed alternative approach can potentially open a research agenda on the contemporaneous dynamics of abstract and concrete forms of wealth in advanced capitalism.
  • References (2)

    Smith, T. 1990. The Logic of Marx's 'Capital': Replies to Hegelian Criticisms, Albany, State University of New York Press.

    Teixeira, R. and Rotta, T. 2012. Valueless Knowledge-Commodities and Financialization, Review of Radical Political Economics, vol. 44, no. 4, pp. 448-467.

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