[OPE-L:4913] Re: Sraffa's Non-Proof

Ajit Sinha (ecas@cc.newcastle.edu.au)
Mon, 5 May 1997 02:56:33 -0700 (PDT)

[ show plain text ]

At 10:04 AM 5/1/97 -0700, John E wrote:

>Your point is well-taken. For real prices to appear in these
>n-commodity models, we should be able to designate one of the
>commodities as the money commodity and express all prices in
>terms of it. Here, I think n must be greater than 2. Using
>those prices, we could make inter-temporal comparisons of prices.
>In this way, the models can become models of an economy in time
>rather than "at the moment."
>This is precisely what I have never found in Sraffa.

John, why do you think Sraffa bothered to develop the standard commodity? To
overcome a particular problem Ricardo's labor theory of value had gotten him
into, and had become the single most important theoretical cause for the
fall of the Ricardian economy. This is the problem of arbitrary money
commodity. My impression is that most of the Marxist scholars who went into
introducing money in the transformation problem debate did not read Sraffa's
'introduction' to Ricardo. This would have clearified a lot of intricate
theoretical issues and saved them a lot of mistakes as well as time. The
standard commodity is of help for one kind of intertemporal comparizon, ie.
when real wages or profit changes and everything else remain constant. The
problem of choice of the unit of measure is a serious theoretical problem,
which not many Marxists show a good appreciation for. May be Riccardo would
like to say something on this. Cheers,
ajit sinha