Value, Time and Abstract Labour
This chapter charts the differing interpretations of how value relates to labour within the New Reading of Marx and so-called ‘embodied labour’ approaches. The chapter first surveys the attempts to get to grips with value in the classical political economy of Smith and Ricardo, and the specificity of Marx’s critique. The chapter then outlines the divergent readings of Marx’s value theory between a traditional Marxism focused on the quantification of labour time as the key to value and the New Reading of Marx, which focuses instead on what Michael Heinrich calls the ‘social validation’ of abstract labour-time in commodity exchange. Finally, the chapter goes on to consider the concept of socially necessary labour-time, through the work of Alfred Sohn-Rethel and Chris Arthur.
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