Karl Marx’s invisible hand

from here to there

I was recently invited to give a talk by the Communist Corresponding Society, in Oxford, on the labour theory of value. Much academic discussion of the labour theory of value is unfortunately cast entirely in terms of equilibrium models. Yet Marx’s theory of value concerned with identifying causal laws, and therefore is irreducibly dynamic. So I decided to talk about the dynamics of the labour theory of value, especially the relationship between out-of-equilibrium market adjustment and the allocation of the total labour of society. I also wanted to emphasise the intimate relation between Marx’s economic theories and the theoretical contributions of Adam Smith and David Ricardo, since this connection isn’t fully appreciated by all Marxists.

Here is the transcript of the talk.

Introduction: prices are, and are not, related to labour time

In 1868 Marx wrote a short letter to his friend Ludwig Kugelmann which contains some of the…

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