The World Review of Political Economy Volume 12 Number 4 comprises 8 articles addressing Political Economy and heterodox views along with a Book Review.
In his piece titled “Value and Price: Controversy, Stasis, and Possibility”, author David Laibman spotlights the value dimension and the problem of “transforming” values into prices which emerged in the late 19th century. He questions how a value-theoretic political economy may provide superior insights into capitalist laws of motion, unattainable from the critical study of the prices, wages, profits and production alone. The author searches for insights and answers to this from Marx and Engels and the formation of an opposing class forces to capitalist society and how this may help us in our search for answers to these questions.
Author Tiago Camarinha Lopes’ article “Pure-Blood and Muggle Marxian Approaches in the Theory of Value and Price” argues that to make progress in the theory of value and price we must incorporate in the debate of the transformation problem of how Marxian economics relates to non-Marxian economics. This article presents two alternative approaches the “pure-blood Marxian approach” and the “muggle Marxian approach.” It addresses how the the “muggle Marxian approach” is represented as being superior by two influential 20th century Western communists working on academic economics Piero Sraffa and Oskar Lange.
Author Fred Moseley’s article “What Does the Labor Theory of Value Do?” is a response to two other articles from the WAPE 2021 Forum by Tiago Camarinha Lopes and David Laibman. It focuses on the key question addressed by both Camarinha Lopes and Laibman of “what does the labor theory of value do that other theories cannot do?”. In other words, what important phenomena of capitalist economies can Marx’s theory on the labor theory of value explain? The author presents his answer to this important question of what the labor theory of value does.
Authors Paul Cockshott and David Zachariah article “A Shift from the Problematic of “Transformation” examines the paradigm shift from the transformation model to the stochastic profit models. Some of the anomalies undermining the transformation model are given graphically. In the last two sections we present volume II of Capital as an alternative starting point for thinking about the relation between value and price.
Within his article “Value Production, Measurement, and Distribution under Digital Capitalism: A Critique of the Theory That the Law of Value Has Failed” author Xu Wei considers the problem of value creation and profit sources of digital capital in Web 2.0 era. This article considers the core categories Western Marxist scholars use to illustrate it the problem and how they conclude the law of value has become invalid in the era of “digital production and consumption”. Author Xie continues by looking at digital labor and its results within Marx’s analytical framework to interprete it in terms of “direct production process of capitalism,” “fixed capital accumulation pattern” and “classification of productive labor and non-productive labor” categories. He considers how the digital capitalist mode of production is serving partially to dissipate the role of the law of value, this law as the general principle regulating global capitalist production remains effective in the contemporary world.
Author Lefteris Tsoulfidis’ article “Ricardo’s Labor Theory of Value Is Alive and Well in Contemporary Capitalism” considers Ricardo’s numerical examples and its theoretical statements about deviations of relative values (prices) from relative labor times. These deviations result from capital and the distributive variables (rate of profit and wage) and production (turnover) times. This article looks at the argument that changes in both relative (market) and natural (or equilibrium) prices depend primarily on changes in unit labor values and secondarily on capital intensities. Using input-output data from the US and Chinese economies this article tests the extent to which Ricardo’s thesis holds true.
Author Teppei Shibata’s article “Capital–Labor Relations in the Japanese Construction Industry” identifies the causes of and solutions to the shortage of human resources in Japan’s construction industry from the perspective of the transformation of the capital–labor relations. This article considers how the shortage of human resources is a result of low working conditions brought about multiple subcontracting and day laborers as a low-wage sector. It highlights how from the 2000’s dependent contractors and foreign workers began forming a new low-wage sector.
In his article “Marxism and MMT: How Modern Monetary Theory Can Enrich the Debate among Marxists” author Anthony William Donald Anastasi considers how to date relatively little scholarly study has focussed on tying Marxist theory to Modern Monetary Theory (MMT). The author argues that Marxists should take a closer look and use MMT to argue for, implement, and manage non-reformist reforms such as a Job Guarantee and publicly funded elections which could raise material and working conditions for the working class. This would work to strengthen class consciousness, and condition society for a post-capitalist economic system.