Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Sraffian Triumphalism

This is from the sort of professional literature I read:
"Convincing conditions of sufficient generality which ensure a well-behaved technology have not been proposed. We therefore should not seek for those special assumptions under which neoclassical theory might work but for a different theory of distribution and employment altogether. Keynesian modifications of neoclassical full employment theory are still being discussed by the mainstream economists. I am reminded here of the Ptolemaic world system: if planets do not move in circles although circles are thought to describe their behaviour, epicycles are invented. Why do we not turn to the ellipses straightaway, as Kepler did, forgetting about the circles and the harmonies of spheres, which would mean in our context: why do we not turn to a theory of value which does not presuppose full employment as the natural state?" --Bertram Schefold (1990, p. 383)
"...since both groups of versions of marginalist equilibrium theory - the long-period versions and the neo-Walrasian versions - encounter what appear to be radical and insurmountable difficulties, one must conclude that at present there is no defensible neoclassical theory (in the sense of explanation) of prices and distribution. The onus is on the neoclassicals to show that this is not so. Unless and until they succeed, it seems reasonable to turn to different, non-neoclassical approaches to value and distribution (and employment and growth)." --Fabio Petri (1999, p. 55-56)
"A growing number of contemporary economists recognizes the need to overcome the cowardly protectionism through which the academy endeavors to defend itself from criticism deriving from the facts as well as from the innovations that originate from other social sciences." --Ernesto Screpanti and Stefano Zamagni (2005, p. 513)
"Sraffa ... provided a logically self-consistent solution to the problem of exchange values to which Ricardo - and, following him, Marx - had given an insufficient answer, constituting one of the causes that led to the abandonment of the classical framework and the rise of the marginalist approach; and he showed that to this problem the marginalist approach offered a solution that was only apparently more 'scientific', but that in reality was vitiated in its foundations in so far as the theory of value and distribution is concerned." --Alessandro Roncaglia (2006, p. 460)
  • Petri, Fabio (1999). "Professor Hahn on the 'neo-Ricardian' Criticism of Neoclassical Economics", in Value, Distribution and Capital: Esays in Honour of Pierangelo Garegnani (edited by Gary Mongiovi and Fabio Petri), Routledge
  • Roncaglia, Alessandro (2006). The Wealth of Ideas: A History of Economic Thought, Cambridge University Press
  • Schefold, Bertram (1990). "Joint Production, Intertemporal Preferences and Long-Period Equilibrium: A Comment on Bidard", Political Economy, Studies in the Surplus Approach, V. 6: pp. 139-163 (republished in Normal Prices, Technical Change and Accumulation, by Bertram Schefold, Macmillan)
  • Screpanti, Ernesto and Stefano Zamagni (2005). An Outline of the History of Economic Thought (Second Edition), Oxford University Press

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