Notes on the Measure of Value

This private comment, made in the course of an internal debate around the book Marx and Non-Equilibrium Economics, seems to me relevant to some of the issues raised in articles received in preparation for the conference. It was circulated to participants in the 1994 Bergamo conference on value theory, organised by Riccardo Bellofiore and colleagues on the anniversary of the publication of Volume III of Capital. This was an important encounter between proponents of traditional and alternative interpretations of Marx’s theory of value, including proponents of the ‘New Solution’ and the ‘Simultaneous Single System Interpretation’ (SSSI) of Wolff, Callari and Roberts.

I thought it might be useful to issue the comment more widely and adapted it for circulation to Bergamo conference participants. I aimed to show how it relates to the interesting paper from Callari, Wolff and Roberts (henceforth CWR), which raised the question of the definition and measurement of abstract labour. In the course of this exploration, many other issues distinguishing TSSI from SSSI and the standard Bortkiewicz-Sweezy-Morishima interpretation that, until that time, dominated Western Academic Marxism. It also explores a number of critical issues relating to the relation between labour and money, a question placed at the centre of the debate by Adolfo Rodriguez and Alejandro Ramos, originator of the term ‘Monetary Expression of Labour Time (MELT)’.

It is not fully edited and in particular does not adequately reference other work, particularly that of Suzanne de Brunhoff, of Diane Elson and of Alejandro Ramos and Adolfo Rodriguez and several others who were discussing such issues well before I got to them. All I can do is apologise and ask the reader to look into these vital debates.

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