RG

IN CONTEXT

FOCUS

Theories of value

KEY THINKER

Karl Marx (1818–83)

BEFORE

1662 English economist William Petty argues that land is a free gift of nature, and so all capital is “past labor.”

1690 English philosopher John Locke argues that workers deserve the fruits of their labors.

AFTER

1896 Austrian Economist Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk publishes Karl Marx and the Close of his System, summarizing the criticisms of Marx’s labor theory of value.

1942 Radical US economist Paul Sweezy publishes The Theory of Capitalist Development, defending Marx’s labor theory of value.

The importance of labor in determining the value of goods has a history that can be traced back ...

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