Science and Society 71 (4):455 - 483 (2007)

Marx once characterized the economy of the North American colonies as one of simple commodity production. Historical research shows that simple commodity production there was a type of "moral economy" in which the labor theory of value fails to explain the market prices at which commodities exchange. This should not surprise; the "law of value" and the labor theory are theoretically suited to explain exchange ratios only in capitalism and in no other mode, historical or hypothetical. The first three chapters of Capital therefore explicate the labor theory in the context of a capitalist economy and not, as many interpreters of Marx have it, in the context of simple commodity production. Yet Marx elsewhere applies the "law of value" to precapitalist economies, including simple commodity production, thus engaging in an apparent contradiction. This inconsistency only disappears if he is read "dialectically" — with a heady dose of Hegelian teleology. This, however, comes at the considerable cost of substituting metaphysical for scientific explanation. The Analytical Marxists' aim of expunging Hegelian influences from historical materialism thus appears to be justified
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 53,682
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Producing Labor-Power.John F. M. McDermott - 2007 - Science and Society 71 (3):299 - 321.
Rationality and Social Labor in Marx.Elias L. Khalil - 1990 - Critical Review 4 (1-2):239-265.
I. Marx's Analysis of Commodity Exchange—a Reply to Carver.Ulrich Steinvorth - 1976 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 19 (1-4):99 – 108.
The Theory and Empirical Credibility of Commodity Money.John Weeks - 2012 - Science and Society 76 (1):66 - 94.
Marx and Cohen on Exploitation and the Labor Theory of Value.Nancy Holmstrom - 1983 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 26 (3):287 – 307.
Value of the Commodity and Intellectual Labour.Tuytsyn Yury - 2008 - Proceedings of the Xxii World Congress of Philosophy 22:117-123.


Added to PP index

Total views
3 ( #1,261,487 of 2,349,388 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #510,581 of 2,349,388 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes