Sraffa and the Labour Theory of Value: a note

Vol. 39 No. 4 (2019)

Oct-Dec / 2019
Published October 1, 2019

How to Cite

Anderaos de Araújo, Fabio. 2019. “Sraffa and the Labour Theory of Value: A Note”. Brazilian Journal of Political Economy 39 (4):614-37.

Sraffa and the Labour Theory of Value: a note

Fabio Anderaos de Araújo
Autonomous economic researcher, São Paulo/SP, Brazil.
Brazilian Journal of Political Economy, Vol. 39 No. 4 (2019), Oct-Dec / 2019, Pages 614-637


The author seeks to demonstrate that the price system proposed by Piero Sraffa in his major work Production of Commodities by means of Commodities – Prelude to a Critique of Economic Theory is compatible with both David Ricardo and Karl Marx ´s labour embodied theory of value and with Adam Smith’s labour-commanded theory of value. In reality, Sraffa’s measure of prices, the Standard Commodity, satisfies rigorously the mathematical condition of invariability in relation to income distribution between wages and profits. In this sense, it offers a consistent solution to the transformation problem of embodied labour values into production prices. Besides, the Standard ratio or the maximum rate of profits R can be used to analyse the evolution of the three major types or forms of technical progress in a capitalist economy, as follows: labour-using, neutral and capital-using techniques. 

JEL Classification: B12; B51.

Keywords: Labour values prices income distribution classical and Marxian economic theories standard commodity technical progress rent interest rate