Re: [OPE-L] basics vs. non-basics

From: Allin Cottrell (
Date: Wed Sep 28 2005 - 23:46:21 EDT

On Wed, 28 Sep 2005, Ian Wright wrote:

> These are complex issues: I might be mistaken. But it would be
> useful to go into a little more depth on the problem of
> "self-reproducing non-basics".

Having now read Sraffa's appendix on this issue, I'm not convinced
of its importance (though I too may be mistaken).

Sraffa points out that one can 'solve' the SRNB problem if one is
willing to assume that the commodity in question fetches a price as
output that is greater than its price as input (for then its rate
of profit, which is presumed to be limited below that determined
within the basic sector, can be jacked up).  This is of course
contrary to the usual Sraffian idea -- but it seems to me it's a
temporary concession.

The implication -- if I'm understanding this right -- is that the
price of such a commodity must rise continuously relative to the
general run of commodities.  But then, surely, before long it prices
itself out of the market.  Demand goes to zero and it's no longer
produced.  Since it's not a basic, there are no repercussions.

Allin Cottrell

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