From: Ian Wright (wrighti@ACM.ORG)
Date: Fri Oct 07 2005 - 12:47:33 EDT
Allin, Paul, Ian, Ajit Thanks for all the feedback, it's been very helpful. There are lots of possible ways to fix the problem with the Sraffian price equation, some of which are in the literature. But the point is that it is broken. And not in a small, unimportant way, but in a big, important way: in general it does not determine prices for an arbitrary number of commodities. The question then becomes: in what way do the possible fixes change the traditional understanding of the meaning of Sraffa's critique? I wonder whether this question has not been adequately addressed. For example, the problem has been given an uniformative name: "problem of self-reproducing non-basics" rather than, say, "incomplete theory of price in a state of self-replacing equilibrium". Statements along the lines that "prices are determined once the technology and real wage are given", or that the "uniform rate of profit is determined by the basic system", are prima facie false, unless such statements are accompanied by an explicit solution to the problem of "self-reproducing non-basics". -Ian.
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