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From ‘Pool of Profits’ to Surplus and Deficit Industries: Archival Evidence on the Evolution of Piero Sraffa’s Thought



  • Scott Carter



This chapter argues that the Marxian theory of exploitation underlies the concepts of surplus and deficit industries that appear in Sraffa’s (1960) Production of Commodities by Means of Commodities. This is seen from archival research of the unpublished papers of Piero Sraffa housed at the Wren Library, Trinity College, University of Cambridge. There it is shown that the origin of these concepts lies in the Marxian theory of exploitation that Sraffa developed regarding the notion of the ‘pool of profits’ the Italian economist utilized over a 14-year period from 1942 to 1956. The chapter engages in an extensive textual study of the archival evidence and then presents a simple analytical model of these relations.

Suggested Citation

  • Scott Carter, 2014. "From ‘Pool of Profits’ to Surplus and Deficit Industries: Archival Evidence on the Evolution of Piero Sraffa’s Thought," RESEARCH IN POLITICAL ECONOMY, in: Paul Zarembka (ed.),SRAFFA AND ALTHUSSER RECONSIDERED; NEOLIBERALISM ADVANCING IN SOUTH AFRICA, ENGLAND, AND GREECE, volume 29, chapter 1, pages 3-61, Paul Zarembka.
  • Handle: RePEc:rpe:chaptr:carter

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    Cited by:

    1. Ala, Alessandro S. & Lapsley, Irvine, 2019. "Accounting for crime in the neoliberal world," The British Accounting Review, Elsevier, vol. 51(5).
    2. Ernesto Screpanti, 2015. "The Demise of Marx’s Labour Theory of Value and the ‘New Interpretation’: A Recap Note," Department of Economics University of Siena 708, Department of Economics, University of Siena.

    More about this item


    Sraffa; Marx; Solow;

    JEL classification:

    • B31 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought: Individuals - - - Individuals
    • B41 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology - - - Economic Methodology
    • B51 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Current Heterodox Approaches - - - Socialist; Marxian; Sraffian


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