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Absolute and Exchangeable Value

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Abstract

The notion of absolute (as distinct from exchangeable or relative) value arises in classical economics from the image of a given magnitude of output being distributed between the social classes. Ricardo posited that the value of the social surplus could be expressed in terms of labour regardless of how the surplus was distributed. But since changes in distribution affect exchangeable value, the value of the surplus will typically vary as distribution varies, even though its physical magnitude remains unchanged. In 1823 Ricardo concluded that ‘there is no such thing in nature as a perfect measure of value’.

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This chapter was originally published in The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics, 2nd edition, 2008. Edited by Steven N. Durlauf and Lawrence E. Blume

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Bibliography

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Eatwell, J. (2008). Absolute and Exchangeable Value. In: The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics. Palgrave Macmillan, London. https://doi.org/10.1057/978-1-349-95121-5_614-2

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1057/978-1-349-95121-5_614-2

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  • Publisher Name: Palgrave Macmillan, London

  • Online ISBN: 978-1-349-95121-5

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Chapter History

  1. Latest

    Absolute and Exchangeable Value
    Published:
    15 March 2017

    DOI: https://doi.org/10.1057/978-1-349-95121-5_614-2

  2. Original

    Absolute and Exchangeable Value
    Published:
    17 October 2016

    DOI: https://doi.org/10.1057/978-1-349-95121-5_614-1