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Sraffa on Marshall's Theory of Value in the Cambridge Lectures: Achievements in an Unfinished Criticism

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  • Trezzini, Attilio

    () (Roma Tre University)

Abstract

In his Cambridge lectures, Sraffa argues that classical political economy and marginalist economics present two alternative theoretical structures. This was a major achievement reached during the preparation of the lectures. The understanding of these two theoretical structures was however still unfinished: as known, he had already identified the need for simultaneous determination of prices and distribution - a result comprehensibly not made explicit in the lectures; but the critical implications of this result for the interpretation of Marshall's position were probably not yet evident to Sraffa. He in fact still accepted the Marshallian thesis that classical political economy and marginalist economics identified two single alternative “ultimate standards of value”. Sraffa’s failure to also overcome this limitation of the debate on the ultimate standard bears witness to his, albeit critical, initial adherence to the Marshallian theoretical framework. The road towards Production of Commodities was open but still unfinished.

Suggested Citation

  • Trezzini, Attilio, 2019. "Sraffa on Marshall's Theory of Value in the Cambridge Lectures: Achievements in an Unfinished Criticism," Centro Sraffa Working Papers CSWP34, Centro di Ricerche e Documentazione "Piero Sraffa".
  • Handle: RePEc:ris:sraffa:0034
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Saverio M Fratini, 2018. "Sraffa on the degeneration of the notion of cost [The ultimate standard of value]," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 42(3), pages 817-836.
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    6. Kurz, Heinz D., 2006. "The agents of production are the commodities themselves: On the classical theory of production, distribution and value," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 1-26, January.
    7. Rodolfo Signorino, 2005. "Piero Sraffa's lectures on the advanced theory of value 1928-31 and the rediscovery of the classical approach," Review of Political Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(3), pages 359-380.
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    9. Attilio Trezzini, 2018. "Piero Sraffa’s Use of the History of Economic Thought in the Cambridge Lectures," Italian Economic Journal: A Continuation of Rivista Italiana degli Economisti and Giornale degli Economisti, Springer;Società Italiana degli Economisti (Italian Economic Association), vol. 4(1), pages 189-209, March.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Sraffa; Piero Sraffa Papers; Marshall; Theory of costs.;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • B12 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought through 1925 - - - Classical (includes Adam Smith)
    • B13 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought through 1925 - - - Neoclassical through 1925 (Austrian, Marshallian, Walrasian, Wicksellian)
    • B24 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought since 1925 - - - Socialist; Marxist; Scraffian
    • B31 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought: Individuals - - - Individuals

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