The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd

Labour Theory of Value

  • Fernando Vianello
Reference work entry


The only instance in which Adam Smith makes the value of commodities depend on the quantity of labour required to produce them is where ‘the whole produce of labour belongs to the labourer’ (Smith 1776, vol. 1, p. 54; see ibid., p. 72). ‘In that early and rude state of society which precedes both the accumulation of stock and the appropriation of land’, he asserts ‘the proportion between the quantities of labour necessary for acquiring different objects seems to be the only circumstance which can afford any rule for exchanging them for one another’ (ibid., p. 53).

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© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fernando Vianello
    • 1
  1. 1.