The social construction of value: Value theories and John Locke's framework of qualities

Wilfred Dolfsma*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Value theory is central to economics. Whenever new economic theories appear on stage, their theory of value is different. I classify value theories along Locke's lines of primary and secondary qualities. When value is thought to inhere in objects, value is a primary quality. The marginalists perceive value as given to objects by autonomous individuals independent of their environment (much like monads) with given preferences. Value here is a secondary quality. Both are unsatisfactory; value is a social construct. The question arises why social value theory, which Clark and Anderson worked on around the turn of the nineteenth century, did not take root.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)400-416
Number of pages17
JournalEuropean Journal of the History of Economic Thought
Volume4
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1997
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • classification
  • John Locke
  • social value theory
  • valuation
  • value theory

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