Social surplus approach and heterodox economics
Given the emphasis on social provisioning in heterodox economics, two of its central theoretical organizing principles are the concepts of the total social product and the social surplus. This appears to link heterodox economics to the social surplus approach associated with the classical economists and currently with Sraffian economists. However, heterodox economics connects agency with the social surplus and the social product, which the Sraffians reject as they take the level and composition of the social product as given. Therefore the different theoretical approach regarding the social surplus taken in heterodox economics may generate a different but similar way of theorizing about a capitalist economy. To explore this difference is the aim of the paper. Thus the paper is divided into four parts and a conclusion. In the first section social provisioning and the social surplus is introduced. In the second section, the Sraffian social surplus approach is delineated while in the third section the heterodox social surplus approach is delineated. In the fourth section of the paper, some of the implications emerging from the differences between the two approaches are discussed. The paper is concluded in the final section.
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