Lettera Matematica

, Volume 6, Issue 4, pp 227–232 | Cite as

Marx and the value

  • Giuseppe TravagliniEmail author


This paper addresses the Marxian transformation problem of values into prices. According to Marx, the value of commodities is given by the labour embodied in the same commodities. However, given the Marxian assumption of free competition in labour and good markets, the price of commodities may deviate from their labour value. Marx’s “transformation problem” lies precisely in the computation of prices based on their labour content. As we shall see, the solution proposed by Marx is only partial, and subsequent attempts to solve the problem increasingly distance the solution from the Marxian model which is based on labour value and surplus value, leaving the question still open.


Karl Marx Marxian economy Value Surplus value 



  1. 1.
    Bortkiewicz, L.v.: Zur Berichtigung der grundlegenden theoretischen Konstruktion von Marx im dritten Band des “Kapital”. Jahrbücher Nationalökonom. Stat. (III. Folge) 34, 319–335 (1907)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Graziani, A.: Teoria Economica. Prezzi e Distribuzione. Edizioni Scientifiche Italiane, Napoli (1982)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Lunghini, G.: Conflitto, Crisi, Incertezza. Boringhieri, Torino (2012)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Marx, K.: Capital. A Critique of Political Economy (1894). International Publishers, New York (1967)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Marx, K.: A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy (1859). Progress Publishers, Moscow (1970)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Marx, K.: Economic and philosophic manuscripts of 1844. In: Milligan, M., Struik, D.J. (eds) Collected Works, vol. 3, Engl. transl.. International Publishers, New York (1975)Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Marx, K.: Wage Labour and Capital (1847), Engl. transl. by Zodiac and Baggins, B. (1999)
  8. 8.
    Napoleoni, C.: Lezioni Sul Capitolo Sesto Inedito di Marx. Boringhieri, Torino (1972)Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Ricardo, D.: On the Principles of Political Economy and Taxation. John Murray, Albemarle-Street, London (1821). Now in: Works of David Ricardo, vol. 1, ed. by Piero Sraffa with the Collaboration of M. H. Dobb. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge (1951)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Smith, A.: An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations. W. Strahan and T. Cadell, London (1776)Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Sraffa, P.: Produzione di Merci a Mezzo Merci. Premesse ad Una Critica Della Teoria Economica. Einaudi, Torino (1960)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Centro P.RI.ST.EM, Università Commerciale Luigi Bocconi 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dipartimento di Economia Società Politica-DESPUniversità di Urbino Carlo BoUrbinoItaly

Personalised recommendations