[OPE-L:4438] Re: Sraffa: a Marxist economist?

Gerald Lev (glevy@pratt.edu)
Wed, 19 Mar 1997 04:28:08 -0800 (PST)

[ show plain text ]

Ajit wrote in [OPE-L:4436]:

> >(3) So I think that the claim that Sraffa was the "greatest Marxist
> >economist of the twentieth century without any doubt" is, at best,
> >hyperbole.
> Not at all! I should have used, of all time, instead of just 20th century.

(1) As I pointed out previously, and you did not take issue with, Sraffa
did not consider himself to be a Marxist.

(2) As I pointed out previously, and you did not take issue with, Sraffa's
critique was directed against marginalism. It's true that others, such as
Steedman, have attempted to turn that critique against Marx and
"fundamentalist" Marxists but there is _no_ evidence that was Sraffa's
concern. If we look at what Sraffa actually wrote (besides his small book
and his co-editing of Ricardo's _Works and Correspondence_, we only see,
basically, a few short articles), none were on Marx or Marxist economics.

(3) Sraffa's influence has largely been on the "surplus approach" (or
Neo-Ricardian) school and the Post-Keynesians, although -- except as a
critique of marginalism -- the influence of Sraffa on Post-Keynesians in
other ways is rather limited (and indeed the gap, and in some cases
hostility, between the PKers and the Sraffians has been widening). The
marginalists, of course, have long since chosen to "forget" about Sraffa
and the Capital Controversies.

(4) While one can observe the influence of Steedman's critique on many
other Marxists, such as Roemer and the Analytical Marxists, what has
become of the "surplus approach" school itself? My sense is that it has
been on a long-term decline and that very little in the way of development
of that approach has been written since the early 1980's (when Steedman
and others wrote some intersting stuff on international trade). What have
they done lately? (that's a serious question: I want to know).

In solidarity, Jerry