Prediction and Description in Marxian Value Theory



Competition, Labor theory of value, Labor values, Marxian value theory, Surplus value


This paper reflects on recent work in Marxian value theory, with an emphasis on contributions by Foley and Shaikh, as well as those following their work. Sen’s (1978) taxonomy of “predictive” and “descriptive” aspects of Marx’s theory is adopted to appraise and discuss these recent contributions. Many have come to doubt Marx’s theory of value as a predictive theory given the outcomes of the transformation problem debates, although recent work by Shaikh provides a forceful counter to this. Even if many remain skeptical of Marx’s theory of value as a predictive theory, there are fruitful interpretations of Marx’s theory as a descriptive theory, where the emphasis is on describing fundamental processes of capitalist economies like the allocation of social labor, capitalist competition, and exploitation. Recent work in Marxian value theory by Foley, Shaikh, and others has facets that are both predictive and descriptive. This short reflection highlights these and points to paths for future research.




How to Cite

Cogliano, J. F. (2023). Prediction and Description in Marxian Value Theory. The New School Economic Review, 12, 93–111. Retrieved from