Aristotle, Adam Smith and Karl Marx

Aristotle, Adam Smith and Karl Marx

On Some Fundamental Issues in 21st Century Political Economy

Spencer J. Pack

Spencer Pack compares and contrasts Aristotle’s, Smith’s and Marx’s theoretical systems on six fundamental issues: exchange value, money, capital, character, government, and change. This book also provides insights on issues concerning the continuing development of world money, saving, managerial capitalism, corrupt governments, and various secular and religious movements for social change.

Introduction

Spencer J. Pack

Subjects: economics and finance, economic psychology, political economy, politics and public policy, political economy

Extract

to Part IV This part brings forth the ideas of Aristotle, Smith and Marx on the concepts of exchange value, money, capital, character, government and change into the 21st century. It considers key areas where these theorists do indeed offer us keen insight concerning contemporary issues around these concepts. Bringing forward the question of what is exchange value to the 21st century, Chapter 11 introduces the controversial and enigmatic work of Piero Sraffa. I argue that in Sraffa’s theoretical framework, it is not the commodity labor power which uniquely creates value or exchange value. Rather, it is any commodity, or actually all commodities, when they produce other commodities, which create or produce value. That is, commodities are commensurate simply because they are produced commodities created with the goal to be exchanged. This suggests that Sraffa is using a different theory of value from Marx and/or that Marx’s labor theory of value is wrong. Nonetheless, if in spite of the technical Sraffian criticisms on the determinants of value theory, Smith and Marx (and Aristotle) are correct concerning the genesis and functions of money, then the generalized exchange of commodities will generate a universal equivalent, that is, money. Thus, in a globalized economy, there will also be a tendency for there to be a world money. I argue that since the end of the Bretton Woods System, and the severing of the formal link between gold and most national fiat currencies, there is evidence that the US dollar is in the process...