Time and value in the history of political economy

Foundations of Science 10 (3):325-345 (2004)
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Abstract

This paper explores the relationship of time and value in the history of economics, using the contributions of Girard, Achterhuis, Kula and Mirowski. In the ‘anthropometric stage’ time and value are intertwined: value and time are not abstract concepts, but they express a concrete process which incorporates the social positions of individuals. In the ‘lineamentric stage’ the concepts of time and value remain cyclical, but they receive an abstract character. The economy reproduces itself cyclically, because the origin of value – human labour – reproduces itself in each production period. In the ‘syndetic stage’ the cyclical conception of the economy is abandoned through the perception of a non-reproductive system. Time and value are detached from each other, and linear time enters economic theory as an analytical tool. The labour theory of value is replaced by external denominants of value: utility and external scarcity.

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