Marianna Mazzucato’s most recent book is a very good reading on the theory of value. Mazzucato starts by recapping theories of value throughout the history of economics, showing that what economists consider productive changed through the centuries.
Marx’s theory of value and capital is briefly described and some incoherences become apparent.
Marx considers workers are alienated from means of production by capitalists and hence prevented from capturing the product of surplus work beyond the subsistence wage. Marx believed that whereas a worker would need half-day of work to produce what it needed to survive, he would still be unable to capture the profit from the other half-day as production means are owned by capitalists.
Yet, Marx also postulated that value is only created by labour power – hence, how would ownership of production means be relevant to capturing the surplus?
It is difficult to reconcile the absolute value of labour power (or the labourer’s capacity to work) and the significance of production means in capturing labour surplus.
Read my post on the Regional Studies Association blog Embedding value chains to enhance Cohesion