The role of the value-form in the labour theory of value
It is repeatedly claimed that the labour theory of value is fatally flawed. Whether as a result of this claim, or as is more likely a change in the intellectual atmosphere, there has in recent years been little debate of the merits and weaknesses of the labour theory of value. The principal objective of this thesis is to re-examine a number of the flaws more widely debated in an earlier period and to show that the claim that the labour theory of value is flawed is false. The thesis claims that the work of Marx represents thus far the single most important contribution to the development of the labour theory of value. This contribution is contrasted with that of the Classical political economists, most notably Adam Smith and David Ricardo. An examination is made of the works of Smith and Ricardo which demonstrates that the flaws within their labour theory of value are attributable to the shortcomings of their wider theoretical endeavours. In particular, they fail to identify the nature of value-creating labour; examine the role of the value-form and explain cogently the quantitative determination of value. Marx's work is then examined with each of these points as a pivot of reference. The thesis concludes by drawing the three strands of analysis together to demonstrate that, against a history of criticism, Marx's theory presents a structured coherent whole, largely immune to the criticisms made of it, both from without and within the Marxist tradition of political economy.