RE: SV: [OPE] Ricardo and The Iron Law Of Wages

From: Robert Vienneau (
Date: Tue Jul 15 2008 - 04:02:48 EDT

By the "formal mathematics" of the theory of value, I do mean to  
refer to something like that expressed in Sraffian economics.

In the Sraffian interpretation of Classical economics, value theory  
is only part of economics. There's lots of political economy - the  
important part, even - outside the theory of value. This is in  
contrast to, for example, the Arrow-Debreu model of General  
Equilibrium where the givens (tastes, technology, and endowments)  
are, arguably, to be explained by some other subject than economics.

Saying the wage is given for the theory of value does not mean that  
the wage is fixed over time.

I say that Ricardo does not hold to the iron law, where I interpret  
the iron law to say that wages tend towards physiological  
subsistence. When I suggested that if wages are above subsistence,  
the class structure of capitalism will not be reproduced, I meant  
subsistence here to include social norms about consumption; I am not  
referring to a physiological minimum. (And I am echoing my  
correspondent, as I understand him.)

I think I exhibit an awareness of the difficulties in interpreting  
Ricardo, and in interpreting Classical economics more generally.
ope mailing list

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Thu Jul 31 2008 - 00:00:10 EDT