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Wolfgang Mühlpfordt and the ‘transformation problem’: some remarks on articles by Howard and King and Gilibert


  • Quaas, Friedrun


Until recently, the name of Wolfgang Mühlpfordt (1872-1928) was certainly not among those a theoretical economist was expected to know. Mühlpfordt has now been rehabilitated not only in the Cambridge Journal of Economics (Howard and King: 1987 and Gilibert:1991), but also in the German Jahrbücher für Nationalökonomie und Statistik (Quaas:1991). There are many points of correspondence between my own interpretation and the assessments of Mühlpfordt by Gilibert and by Howard and King. However, I believe it is possible to add some further remarks and also to make some corrections. We do not know why Mühlpfordt did not react to Bortkiewicz's famous articles (1907), to which he would certainly have had something to say. Mühlpfordt was more advanced than Bortkiewicz, since his mathematical approach is of more general validity and he prepared the way for the modern theory of production prices which is now associated with, among others, the name of Piero Sraffa.

Suggested Citation

  • Quaas, Friedrun, 1994. "Wolfgang Mühlpfordt and the ‘transformation problem’: some remarks on articles by Howard and King and Gilibert," MPRA Paper 20228, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 24 Jan 2010.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:20228

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Quaas, Friedrun, 1991. "Wolfgang Mühlpfordt - ein Vorgänger von Bortkiewicz? Zu den theoretischen Quellen des sogenannten Transformationsproblems
      [Wolfgang Mühlpfordt as an predecessor of Bortkiewicz. Concerning the theor
      ," MPRA Paper 20348, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Howard, M C & King, J E, 1987. "Dr Muhlpfort, Professor von Bortkiewicz and the 'Transformation Problem.'," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 11(3), pages 265-268, September.
    3. Howard, M C & King, J E, 1991. "Dr Muhlpfort and the 'Transformation Problem': A Reply," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 15(3), pages 355-358, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Quaas Friedrun, 2000. "Das Transformationsproblem von Werten in Produktionspreise. Ein Diskussionsbeitrag zur Geschichte und zum Stand der Debatte," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), De Gruyter, vol. 220(1), pages 108-121, February.

    More about this item


    transformation problem; Wolfgang Mühlpfordt; Ladislaus von Bortkiewicz; labour theory of value;

    JEL classification:

    • B51 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Current Heterodox Approaches - - - Socialist; Marxian; Sraffian
    • B31 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought: Individuals - - - Individuals
    • B16 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought through 1925 - - - Quantitative and Mathematical


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