Marx 200: The Abiding Relevance of the Labour Theory of Value

Wednesday, 18 July 2018: 15:30
Oral Presentation
Alfredo SAAD-FILHO, SOAS University of London, United Kingdom
Marxist political economy (MPE) is alive and well, and not just because of the habitual turn to Marx in response to any crisis of capitalism. Both through Capital and through the continuing evolution of Marxism, MPE offers unique, and uniquely valuable, insights that can illuminate the modalities of social and economic reproduction, and the relationships between (different aspects of) the economic and the non-economic. Marxism’s presence has been felt through its own internal debates and debates with other approaches to political economy, and even through the influence on those reacting against Marxism. The key to the continuing relevance and analytical strengths of MPE lies in its capacity to provide a framework of analysis for unifying disparate insights and critiques of the contradictions of capitalism across the social sciences. The instrument for forging that unity remains Marx’s theory of value (MTV). The potential of MTV to do so is examined and illustrated in this article with reference to two key concepts, the value of labour power (VLP) and financialisation. They are explored and shown to have common as well different specificities in terms of key processes of commodification (C), commodity form (CF) and commodity calculation (CC) that are introduced and explained.