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Samuelsonian Economics and the Twenty-First Century$
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Michael Szenberg, Lall Ramrattan, and Aron A. Gottesman

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780199298839

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199298839.001.0001

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Paul Samuelson on Karl Marx: Were the Sacrificed Games of Tennis Worth It?

Paul Samuelson on Karl Marx: Were the Sacrificed Games of Tennis Worth It?

(p.127) 8 Paul Samuelson on Karl Marx: Were the Sacrificed Games of Tennis Worth It?
Samuelsonian Economics and the Twenty-First Century

Geoff Harcourt

Oxford University Press

This chapter challenges us to delve into Samuelson's ideas from an eraser's point of view. When we observe carefully, we find Samuelson saying: ‘Contemplate two alternative and discordant systems. Write down one. Now transform by taking an eraser and rubbing it out. Then fill in the other one. Voila! You have completed your transformation algorithm’. Here is a question and Samuelson's answer on this idea applied to Marx's transformation problem: ‘The ‘algorithmic’ transformation from the ‘value’ model to the ‘price’ model (or vice versa), is truly a process of rejection of the former and replacement by the latter’. Samuelson presents the slam dunk version of what he considered to be the truth of the transformation problem, which as it turned out is an attack on Marx.

Keywords:   transformation problem, values, prices, labor theory, capital accumulation, increasing misery

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