The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd

Transformation Problem

  • E. K. Hunt
  • Mark Glick
Reference work entry


The ‘transformation problem’ is at the heart of the Marxian labour theory of value. The topic has always been the subject of sharp controversy. The controversy reflects not only the general ideological conflicts that surround all Marxist ideas, but also the disagreement among Marxists themselves about the nature of the labour theory of value. After defining the problem in Marx’s terms, we first present Marx’s solution and the claims which he makes regarding its properties. This discussion is then followed by a brief critical review of the various solutions which have been proposed since Marx.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access


  1. Bortkiewicz, L. 1907. Value and price in the Marxian system. Trans. in International Economic Papers No. 2, 1952, 5–61.Google Scholar
  2. Duménil, G. 1980. De la valeur aux prix de production. Paris: Economica.Google Scholar
  3. Duménil, G. 1983–4. Beyond the transformation riddle: A labor theory of value. Science and Society 47(4): 427–450.Google Scholar
  4. Foley, D. 1982. The value of money, the value of labor power and the Marxian transformation problem. Review of Radical Political Economics 14(2): 37–47.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Lipietz, A. 1982. The so-called ‘transformation problem’ revisited. Journal of Economic Theory 26(1): 59–88.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Marx, K. 1867. Capital, vol. I. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1981.Google Scholar
  7. Medio, A. 1972. Profits and surplus value: Appeareance and reality in capitalist production. In A critique of economic theory, ed. E.K. Hunt and J. Schwartz. New York: Penguin.Google Scholar
  8. Seton, F. 1957. The ‘transformation problem’. Review of Economic Studies 24: 149–160.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Shaikh, A. 1977. Marx’s theory of value and the ‘transformation problem’. In The Subtle anatomy of capitalism, ed. J. Schwartz. Santa Monica: Goodyear.Google Scholar
  10. Shaikh, A. 1984. The transformation from Marx to Sraffa. In Ricardo, Marx, Sraffa, ed. E. Mandel. London: Verso.Google Scholar
  11. Sweezy, P. 1942. The theory of capitalist development. New York: Monthly Review Press, ch. 7.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. K. Hunt
    • 1
  • Mark Glick
    • 1
  1. 1.