Discussion Night: Marx's Labor Theory Of Value

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Discussion Night: Marx's Labor Theory Of Value
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I would like us to discuss Marx's Labor Theory of Value (LTV), which forms the basis of his critique of capitalism in Capital Vol. 1-3. The main reading is Austrian economist Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk's "Karl Marx and the Close of His System" (this title is supposed to not be insulting).


I want us to read Chapter 3, since it forms the core of his critique. The PDF also contains a response by a Marxian economist, but I figure we'll save that for some later date. The first two chapters are an exposition of Marx's theory. Instead of reading those, here are some resources to get you up to speed on the LTV and the "transformation problem" that Böhm-Bawerk is referring to:


The main question I want to consider is, does the transformation problem "prove" that Marx's system is logically incoherent? In addition to Böhm-Bawerk's critique, I want us to consider some other related questions:

1. Apart from the transformation problem, is (socially necessary) labor time really the source of exchange value (price)?
2. Is it conceivable for a commodity to be created without any human inputs at all, e.g. by robots and software, and does that invalidate the LTV?
3. Do capitalists contribute to the value of commodities by absorbing the risk that the venture may fail - and is profit a "fair compensation" for this risk?
4. What are the consequences for Marxism if the LTV proves to be untrue? Can a critique of capitalism rest on alienation and exploitation in a moral sense, rather than in a purely economic sense? Was Marx trying to fit what was essentially a moral doctrine into a rationalistic discourse where feelings and emotions are "unscientific" and are devalued?
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