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

From: Martin Kragh (
Date: Tue Jul 15 2008 - 05:03:40 EDT

Hi Robert,

I agree with you completely, however, it needs to be noted that Ricardo never spoke of his value theory as a "law" or an "iron law", this is a much later invention. Again, I believe such an approach would have been contrary to his method. When I wrote earlier on "awareness" (i.e. attempting to read texts in context), it was a general remark, and it should have been made more clear that the reference was not personal. (I was actually thinking of some post modern readings that have bothered me quite some time).  

Kind regards

-----Ursprungligt meddelande-----
Från: [] För Robert Vienneau
Skickat: den 15 juli 2008 10:03
Ämne: RE: SV: [OPE] Ricardo and The Iron Law Of Wages

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
ope mailing list

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