Cheng Enfu & Wang Guijin & Zhu Kui

The Creation of Value by Living Labour Vol.2

A Normative and Empirical Study

24,99 $

The book draws on Professor Cheng Enfu’s “New Four Theory” on value, wealth, and distribution, among which the “new living labor value theory” is particularly creative. The theory precisely follows Marx’s train of thought in his analysis of material production, and extends it to all social and economic sectors.

The book draws on Professor Cheng Enfu’s “New Four Theory” on value, wealth, and distribution, among which the “new living labor value theory” is particularly creative. Its basic idea is as follows. According to Marx, all labor that directly produces physical and mental or cultural goods for exchange in the markets, or direct services for the production and reproduction of labor goods, including internal management labor and scientific and technical labor, falls in the category of value-creating labor or labor of production. The theory precisely follows Marx’s train of thought in his analysis of material production, and extends it to all social and economic sectors.
A second obstacle to understanding the specific role of labor in emergent labor-intensive technologies is the exclusive focus of neoclassical economics on private production. The underlying assumption is that of an ideal system of production conducted by entirely distinct legal entities, each producing only for the market and interacting with others only through the market.
But the results of mental productive activities such as scientific labor, creative labor, and even management, increasingly take the form a general acquisition for society, which is therefore inherently social. Marx referred to this as “general social labor.” Private labor, within an enterprise, draws both on this general social labor and on the inputs that it acquires through the market. The same also applies to much cultural labor, which forms part of the process through which labor power itself is reproduced, not least shaping its productive powers. The most obvious example of this is education, which even neoclassicals have to recognize, up to a point, as a “public good.”

China’s economy involves a combination of ownership forms – public, private, and co-operative. Moreover, these ownership forms, under the definite and distinct conditions of Chinese society, are not necessarily the same as their formally identical equivalents in Western society, in exactly the same way that land ownership in 18th-century England, though formally the same as that prevailing in the French ancien régime of the same date, had already assumed capitalist characteristics far removed from those swept away in the revolution of 1789.

Even completely private capital operates under significantly greater and even qualitatively different public constraints in China than those found in fully capitalist economies, and is able to call on public resources that are not found in the same form. It is of course true that public constraints and resources exist in all societies, even those that proudly proclaim their capitalist character. However much neoclassical economics ignores this fact, and speaks as if all production were as private as the monads of Leibnitz. As a result, it has to deploy elaborate circumlocutions to deny the obvious fact that government, education, health, caregiving, and countless other public activities not only contribute to the value and wealth of society, but form an indispensable mental infrastructure without which private production could not even take place, any more than it could subsist without air, water, or sunshine. Western theory does not even grant government, let alone the public realm, the status of a factor of production. No wonder it cannot account for China’s growth.




Cheng Enfu, born in July 1950, is the Director of the Academy of Marxist Philosophy and director of Western Economic Studies Center of CASS, and the President of WAPE (World Association of Political Economy). Besides, Cheng Enfu is the chief editor of the journals International Critical Thought and World Review of Political Economics (World Association of Political Economics) published by Routledge and Pluto Press, respectively. His academic expertise is in theoretical economics. His representative works are: Enfu Cheng, Xin Xiangyang. “Fundamental elements of the China model”, International Critical Thought. Volume 1, 2011 – Issue 1; Enfu Cheng, “Four Theoretical Hypotheses of Modern Marxist Political Economy”, Social Sciences in China, Autumn 2007, 3-17; Enfu Cheng, Xiaoqin Ding. “A Theory of China’s ‘Miracle’: Eight Principles of Contemporary Chinese Political Economy”, Monthly Review, Jan 01, 2017; Enfu Cheng, Yexia Sun. “Israeli Kibbutz: A Successful Example of Collective Economy”, World Review of Political Economy, Vol. 6, No. 2 (Summer 2015), pp. 160-175; Enfu Cheng, Jiankun Gao. “Comments on and Prospects for China’s Current Macroeconomic Development: Ten Measures to Guide the Economic New Normal”, World Review of Political Economy, 2016, 7; Enfu Cheng, Zhongbao Wang. “Enriching and Developing Marxism in the Twenty-First Century in Various Aspects: Six Definitions of Marxism”, International Critical Thought, 2018, 2; Enfu Cheng. “Marxism and Its Sinicized Theory as the Guidance of the Chinese Model: The ‘Two Economic Miracles’ of the New China”, World Review of Political Economy, Vol. 9, No. 3, Fall 2018; Enfu Cheng. “La interdependencia económica y comercial como posible amortiguador del conflicto”, Vanguardia Dossier, Vol.70, No. 4, 2018.


Chapter 1 Introduction: A landmark encounter
The position of Marx within debates on the theory of value
The concept of theoretical counter-revolution
General Equilibrium
Marxism Marxism without Marx: The two-system fallacy
The militant emancipation of economics
Material foundations of theoretical counter-revolution
Eastern and Western Marx scholarship: a new phase and a research agenda

Chapter 2 Implications and methods of studying value transformation
Arguments concerning transformation
Implications of studying value transformation Structure of Book II

Chapter 3 Theoretical foundations and research methods
Theoretical foundations of the study of value transformation
The nature of value transformation
Mathematical calculation in value transformation

Chapter 4 A model for studying transformation Some assumptions The static transformation model
The dynamic transformation model

Chapter 5 Classical solutions to the transformation problem
Bortkiewicz’s solution
The Winternitz solution
Meek’s solutions A and B
Makoto Itoh’s view of the transformation problem

Chapter 6 The Seton and Morishima models
The Seton model
The Morishima model
Morishima’s solutions to the transformation problem

Chapter 7 Price behavior and transformation
Samuelson’s ‘reverse transformation’
Analysis of Sraffa’s solution: Meek and Steedman
Nobuo Okishio’s dynamic transformation analysis Conclusion

Chapter 8 New developments in the study of transformation
The Shaikh solution
Balanced growth and the invariant equations
DFL Model
The WCR Model
The TSS school and transformation theory


A breath of fresh air from China, this fascinating book lifts a veil from the influence of Marxist thinking in China’s economic successes. It shows how debates initiated by Marxists lie at the forefront of a blend of policies whose striking achievements have little to do with Western economic orthodoxy. A major contribution to Marxist theory and a highly practical work, it confronts the complexity and uniqueness of China’s economic miracle by developing Marxism in exciting and innovative ways. Offering Western readers an unparalleled introduction to the dynamism and breadth of Chinese Marxist thinking, it extends the boundaries of political economy in creative and productive directions of world-wide importance.
—Alan Freeman, Geopolitical Economy Research Group, University of Manitoba

Prof. Cheng Enfu’s “Shanghai School” of Marxist economics has brought together a group of Chinese scholars, whose work has unusual depth and breadth.  Starting from classical Marxist foundations, with the theory of value at its center, they have studied both early and present-day sources, both Marxist and non-Marxist, from both China and around the world. The book uses qualitative analysis and quantitative methods, in theoretical and empirical applications.  But this work is not just exposition and development of theory. The authors also apply their concept of value creation, derived from Marx but by no means rigidly confined to his ideas, to vital matters of policy, especially relevant to today’s China and to the current explosion of high-tech services, managerial and cultural labor. Anyone interested in the Marxist political economy tradition, or in the present-day world and China’s place in it, cannot afford to miss this volume.
—David Laibman, Professor Emeritus, Economics, City University of New York Editor, Science & Society

This book is certainly a landmark, a mile-stone in the research of Marxist Labor theory! Expounds on the essence of Marx’s “theory of value” and its contemporary form Professor Cheng Enfu  have not only explored the existing huge continent, but demonstrated an innovative approach.
—Jean Claude Delaunay, Paris-East University

The book demonstrates that the labour that produces material and spiritual goods directly for the purpose of market exchange and that directly serves the production and reproduction of labour commodities, including the management labor and scientific and technical labor, are all value-creating or productive labor. The authors of this book have long studied and explored the development of Marx’s labor theory of value and have put forward a new point of view. It is different from the view that only material production creates new values for commodities. The book is scientifically innovative and worth studying.
—Wang Zhiwei, Professor of Beijing University, Consultant of the Chinese and Foreign Economic Studies Association


Format: paperback
Publication date: 2019
Page extent: 260
ISBN: 9786054923250


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