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The Labor Theory of Value: A Critique of Carson's Studies in Mutualist Political Economy

  • The Journal of Libertarian Studies

Tags Monetary TheoryValue and Exchange

07/30/2014Robert P. Murphy

Kevin Carson's studies in Mutualist Political Economy (2004) is an impressive work. It first attempts to rehabilitate the classical labor theory of value (by giving it a subjectivist spin), and then traces the history of capitalism to show that it was founded by, and necessarily relies upon, State aggression. Carson finally ends by sketching his vision of a just world based on the principles of “mutualism,” in which labor retains its product and every actor internalizes the full costs of his or her decisions.

This article argues that his rebuttals to Böhm Bawerk’s famous critique of the labor theory of value, as well as Carson’s attempted rehabilitation of the theory along subjectivist lines, utterly fail.

Volume 20, Number 1 (2006)

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Contact Robert P. Murphy

Robert P. Murphy is a Senior Fellow with the Mises Institute. He is the author of many books. His latest is Contra Krugman: Smashing the Errors of America's Most Famous KeynesianHis other works include Chaos Theory, Lessons for the Young Economist, and Choice: Cooperation, Enterprise, and Human Action (Independent Institute, 2015) which is a modern distillation of the essentials of Mises's thought for the layperson. Murphy is cohost, with Tom Woods, of the popular podcast Contra Krugman, which is a weekly refutation of Paul Krugman's New York Times column. He is also host of The Bob Murphy Show.

Cite This Article

Murphy, Robert P. "The Labor Theory of Value: A Critique of Carson's Studies in Mutualist Political Economy." Journal of Libertarian Studies 20, No. 1 (2006): 17–33.

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