Evolutionary and Institutional Economics Review

, Volume 16, Issue 2, pp 261–302 | Cite as

The transformation of values into prices on the basis of random systems revisited

  • Bertram SchefoldEmail author


The paper first defends the importance of the transformation of values into prices on the basis of textual analysis against those who believe that Marxian economics can dispense with prices of production and should be built on values and market prices only, or that the theory of the forms of value matters just for commodities, not for capital, or that one should only have prices of production, forgetting about values. It is shown that P = M is the lynchpin of the Marxian system, regarding the theory of the forms of value as well as the theories of exploitation and accumulation. Second, two proofs of the equality of the mass of profits P and total surplus value M are presented on the basis of random systems. This transformation is compared with Sraffa’s use of the standard commodity for the transformation of values into prices. The third part concerns the interpretation of these results in the light of the fact that Marxian economics hinges on P = M, but that the assumption of random systems is more narrow than the conditions regarded as necessary by Marx or Engels and broader than modern critics, from Bortkiewicz to Sraffa, thought.


Marxian economics Transformation problem Labour values Theory of distribution Capital theory Random matrix 

JEL Classification

B14 B24 B16 C65 D57 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

There is no conflict of interest regarding this paper.


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Copyright information

© Japan Association for Evolutionary Economics 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.FB WirtschaftswissenschaftenGoethe-UniversitätFrankfurtGermany

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