RE: SV: [OPE] Sraffa's and others' writing style

Date: Mon Dec 07 2009 - 15:29:24 EST

> Historians of economic thought may correct me if I'm wrong, but think
> the first statement is a mischaracterisation. The transformation
> problem relevant to Marxist economics is much more specific than "the
> relation between money and value". It is about reconciling the labour
> theory of value with the theory of production prices within a
> deterministic framework.
Hi Dave Z:
Yes, I think you are correct (on both points). While it could be said to also have meaning for Ricardian theory, the TP has almost exclusively been a topic for discussion within Marxian theory because while it's true that all theories of economics have (either explicitly or implicitly) theories of value and theories of price, the TP concerns the logical relation between Marx's theory of value and his theory of *prices of production*. It never ceases to amaze and amuse me the extent to which some try to rationalize their obsession with this topic by making grossly bloated claims about its alleged importance. If the transformation problem was made intro an opera (and in some senses the histoiry of the debate on the TP resembles a *soap* opera) it should be called "La Triviata".
> Secondly, I doubt whether it was Pierro Sraffa's intention to
> criticise the classical idea of centre of gravitation. The subtitle
> of his was a "Prelude to a Critique of Economic Theory", which I
_ take to mean neoclassical economics. Hence it is not so much a
> theory about real world dynamics than a critique.
Yes, that (a critique of marginalism) was Sraffa's concern. But,
surplus approach theorists have branched out into other matters after
In some ways, I think the animosity by many Marxians is mis-directed. Their gripe should be more with Steedman and Lippi and not with Sraffa. It's interesting to note in this connection that after the publication of _PCBMC_ the initial reaction by Dobb, Meek and most others was positive. It was only after the broadside by Steedman (and, to a lesser extent, Lippi) that this attitude changed. People like Steedman lost interest with a critique of Marxian theory decades ago and moved on to more interesting topics than the stale debate on the TP, e.g. international trade theory (which IS was writing good stuff on as far back as the late 70's and early 80's). But, they had the last laugh because the cat-like chasing of their own tail by Marxians that they helped to set in motion has been an ongoing joke for decades.
In solidarity, Jerry _______________________________________________
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Received on Mon Dec 7 15:31:25 2009

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