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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. repec:oup:cambje:v:42:y:2018:i:3:p:817-836. is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Maria Cristina Marcuzzo, 2005. "Piero Sraffa at the university of Cambridge," The European Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(3), pages 425-452.
    3. Fratini, Saverio M., 2016. "Sraffa on the Degeneration of the Notion of Cost," Centro Sraffa Working Papers CSWP21, Centro di Ricerche e Documentazione "Piero Sraffa".
    4. 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.
    5. Wicksteed, Philip H., 1894. "An Essay on the Co-ordination of the Laws of Distribution," History of Economic Thought Books, McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought, edition 127, number wicksteed1894.
    6. Heinz Kurz & Neri Salvadori, 2005. "Removing an 'insuperable obstacle' in the way of an objectivist analysis: Sraffa's attempts at fixed capital," The European Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(3), pages 493-523.
    7. Heinz Kurz & Neri Salvadori, 2005. "Representing the production and circulation of commodities in material terms: On Sraffa's objectivism," Review of Political Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(3), pages 413-441.
    8. Heinz Kurz, 1998. "Against the current: Sraffa's unpublished manuscripts and the history of economic thought," The European Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 5(3), pages 437-451.
    9. 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.
    10. 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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    Keywords

    Sraffa; Piero Sraffa Papers; Marshall; Theory of costs.;

    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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