For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

"A Historical Approach to the Question of Abstract Labour"

by Gleicher, David (1983)


Few topics in political economy have enjoyed as much attention, or have been the center of such controversy as the "labour theory of value" -a theory which gained prominence in the writings of the classical school of the late-eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and which continues to be a major topic of Marxist political economy into the present period . The object of this paper is to outline a coherent approach to the labour theory of value by addressing one central problem that has long plagued Marxist theoreticians, and whose various solutions underlie the stances that have been adopted by different schools toward virtually all of the other important topics of Marxist thought. That problem is the sense in which what Marx termed the "abstract labour" representing the value of commodities, is an extant social phenomenon in capitalist economies; in short, the problem of the "ontology" of abstract labour.


Marx, Marxism, Political Economy, Abstract Labour, Value Theory, Ontology, History, Böhm-Bawerk, Deskilling, Collective Labour


On Marx on Abstract Labour

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