[OPE-L:4478] Re: Sraffa: a Marxist economist?

riccardo bellofior (bellofio@cisi.unito.it)
Fri, 21 Mar 1997 07:02:00 -0800 (PST)

[ show plain text ]

At 2:56 21-03-1997, aramos@aramos.bo wrote:

>P.S. The "serious" question: It is not clear to me from your posts
>if, on the basis of those misterious papers, we can say that
>effectively Sraffa thought of himself as a "Marxist".
>In any case, I think that this ("to be Marxist") in the Italian
>context of Sraffa's life has a different meaning than today. It is
>also important to remember Sraffa's important personal relationship
>with Gramsci.

The thing is becoming more and more a theological one. Hence the following
is only for the strict addicts, and does not add anything new to the
substance of the issue.

I understand as Marxist someone who think he is putting forward the
theoretical project of Marx. That has nothing to do with he's being right
or wrong about this. I think Sraffa was convinced he was putting forward
the theoretical project of Ricardo *and* Marx. Thus, he was a Marxist in
this sense. That's it.



P.S.1: I think that Sraffa's Ricardo is only one side of Ricardo, hence I
think he was wrong about Ricardo, as he was wrong about Marx. But, as any
Marxist since a long time ago, I think most of the other Marxist are wrong
about Marx, hence take this with a grain of salt... 8-)

P.S.2: I think that most of the people on this list are not really
"breaking" with Sraffa, but simply putting forward a different
interpretation of a not too distant model from Sraffa's. The difference is
that some are more coscient of this than others. As an example, look at
what Duncan Foley and Duménil & Levy say about Sraffa, which is not
inconsistent with my picture of the thing.

P.S.3: there is a problem in your tale, comrade Alejandro. Garegnani would
be the first to speak of Sraffa as the greatest of Marxists, and to
criticize people like Steedman , Lippi etc. As you should know quite well.
The (or at least, one) problem is that on this he wants to be the only
voice: as most Marxists think that their Marx is the only true Marx, his
Sraffa is the only true Sraffa. I don't think that what I refer to
(Cambridge papers, etc.) is something Garegnani would have really the
interest to burn: on the contrary.
Moreover, and said among the two of us, what is in the Sraffa papers in
Cambridge is clear also on the written papers, from those who have eyes to
see it. But if you want Sraffa going on around with a t-shirt with written
"I am a marxist" ... well, the closest thing is when he wrote personal
notes against those who wrote he was breaking with Marx.

Riccardo Bellofiore
Department of Economics
Piazza Rosate, 2
I-24129 Bergamo, Italy
e-mail: bellofio@cisi.unito.it
tel: (39) 35 277505 (office)
(39) 35 277501 (dept.)
(39) 11 5819619 (home)
fax: (39) 35 249975