Re: [OPE-L] gen equ and sraffa post Laibman

From: Anders Ekeland (anders.ekeland@ONLINE.NO)
Date: Fri Oct 26 2007 - 15:06:19 EDT

Hi Jerry,

In my generation's Norwegian "autistisk" means, non-communicating,
introvert, a person not relating really to others. No association to
mental disorder actually, more like "nerd".

But David Laibman's anecdote says it all - and I must add: why did
not Sraffa just state those simple things more clearly in the opening
pages. The intellectual history of the left would have been markedly
different. What if Sraffa has said that Marx needed no corrections at
all... If Laibman's anecdote is correct - Sraffa could have written
Kliman's book - in a different manner, in a different language, but
with the same basic points.

Why on earth should a man - so well versed in the history of economic
thought write a book, relating so little to the work of other
economists - especially a minor Ricardian like Marx ;-) Why write a
book that do not enter into dialogue with other points of view?

Who was in a better position to write for example about the Ricardo -
Marx relationship - so that Gary and I just could read an analysis
from a man that had spent decades on Ricardo - and probably a
sbustantial amount of hours also on Marx' relationship to Ricardo.

That Sraffa suffered from severe problems of getting things down on
paper is well known. Samuelson argues that Ronald Meek (if my memory
is correct) actually wrote the introduction to Ricardo's Coll. Works.
But still - why such a non-communicative book - after nearly forty
years of silence?


> > How is
> > it possible to write such a book - and not relate more explicitly to
> > the history of economic ideas, where this book places itself in the
> > theoretical landscape etc. etc.
>I think that's one of its chief advantages.  It's concise nature keeps the
>readers' focus on the most important qestions of theory from the author's
>perspective and thus prevents readers from being side-tracked into obscure
>history of thought issues.  In any event, this is a question associated
>with the *form of exposition*. One can make no inferences
>about a writer's ability to critique other perspectives and grasp of the
>history of thought based merely on the absence of that material in a
>particular writing.  As we all know, one of Sraffa's strong points was as
>a historian of economic thought so his not going into the history of
>thought in _PCBMOC_ shows basically nothing about the author or the book.

I have no time to enter into a discussion of PCBMOC, but I am not at
all convinced by your arguments. The title is a Prelude to the
critique of political economy - and then I expect a bit more about
what is coming next, what is "political economy"

>In solidarity, Jerry

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