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Équilibre général et synthèse post-classique

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  • Bidard, Christian

    (GDR « Dynamique et Production », Université de Paris)

Abstract

Is the neo-Ricardian conception of prices, as formalized and studied by Sraffa, an alternative to the marginalist theory? The "post-classical program" presumes a positive answer: the Sraffian construction then appears as a prelude to a critique of economic theory, which might be complemented by a theory of activity levels inspired by the Keynesian effective demand. It is claimed that Sraffa's arguments on the rupture with the marginalist theory are not convincing: economic rationality and fidelity to the classical conception both require that production prices be associated with constant returns and, more specifically, with a steady growth path; Sraffa's arguments on the capital theory (the reswitching phenomenon) and on the marginalist "one-way avenue from factors to consumption goods" do not apply to the general equilibrium theory. This modern version of the old marginalist discourse explicitly recognizes that intertemporal equilibrium prices coincide with production prices under the above assumptions. La conception néo-ricardienne des prix, telle que formalisée et étudiée par Sraffa, constitue-t-elle une alternative à la théorie marginaliste? C'est ce que présume le « programme post-classique » : la construction sraffienne y apparaît comme un prélude à une critique de la théorie économique, qui est à compléter par une théorie des niveaux d’activité susceptible de s’inspirer de la demande effective keynésienne. La thèse de la rupture ne nous paraît pas convaincante : tant l’hypothèse de comportement rationnel que la fidélité à la conception classique conduisent à associer les prix de production à la constance des rendements et, plus précisément, à un sentier de croissance régulière; les arguments de Sraffa sur la théorie du capital (phénomène de retour des techniques) et sur la conception marginaliste de la production comme « voie à sens unique des facteurs aux biens de consommation » n’atteignent pas la théorie de l’équilibre général. Cette vision moderne du vieux discours marginaliste reconnaît d’ailleurs explicitement que les prix d’équilibre intertemporel se réduisent à des prix de production sous les hypothèses ci-dessus mentionnées.

Suggested Citation

  • Bidard, Christian, 1992. "Équilibre général et synthèse post-classique," L'Actualité Economique, Société Canadienne de Science Economique, vol. 68(4), pages 632-646, décembre.
  • Handle: RePEc:ris:actuec:v:68:y:1992:i:4:p:632-646
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