[OPE-L] Sraffian surplus vs Marxian surplus

From: Jurriaan Bendien (adsl675281@TISCALI.NL)
Date: Mon Jun 26 2006 - 12:48:39 EDT

I wonder has there been anybody who has systematically compared the
differences between Sraffian surplus and Marxian surplus product?

From memory, Sraffa's surplus was basically output price less the costs of
inputs required to produce it, and then you can relate embodied labour
(however construed) to these prices, i.e. there is an accounting and
mathematical relationship between the two.

In Marx's theory, you had the three basic concepts of surplus labour,
surplus value, and realised generic profit, which could all deviate from
each other in magnitude, and could not be captured with a tidy accounting
sum or a mathematical function except in special cases (involving
simplifying assumptions), i.e. you needed an economic theory (a theory of
economic behaviour) to understand the ways they would most likely be

How compatible are the Sraffian and Marxian concepts, really? Paul Baran, an
astute thinker, seemed to think that there really wasn't much difference
between them, but I suspect that's not really the case.

How does Sraffa's theory e.g. deal with firms operating at a loss? In Marx's
theory, the firm would have a positive rate of exploitation, a positive rate
of surplus value, and a negative rate of profit. But how does Sraffa deal
with that?

How does Sraffa deal with the fact that, on the commodities which employees
buy for their subsistence, there is also a profit impost?


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