The Transformation Problem as a Problem of Fetishism

  • Elena Louisa Lange Institute of Asian and Oriental Studies, University of Zurich
Keywords: transformation problem, value theory, fetishism, the New Interpretation, Fred Moseley


In recent decades, critical discussions and even rejections of the labour theory of value, Marx’s central theorem, have been riding a boom, even within Marxian theory itself. What is overlooked in these approaches is Marx’s fetishism-critical method, for which the labour theory of value presents the key heuristic. But even approaches that attempt to retain Marx’s labour theory of value in face of its arguably biggest challenge – the transformation of values to prices of production – often ignore the critique of fetishism related to the concepts of cost price and profit. Instead, they declare the transformation problem redundant by demonstrating the quantitative congruence of values and prices. We however argue that this quantitative “proof” disregards the qualitative problem associated with the “rupture” between value and price, and therefore the epistemological insights to be gained from it – an insight that even Marx did not seem to be fully aware of.


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How to Cite
Lange EL. The Transformation Problem as a Problem of Fetishism. FV [Internet]. 2019Dec.31 [cited 2021Oct.27];40(3). Available from:
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