Friday, August 03, 2007

Sraffa Correspondence On Demand

"You say, 'I don't see how demand can be said to have no influence on ... prices, unless constant returns ...' I take it that the drama is enacted on Marshall's stage where the claimants for influence are utility and cost of production. Now utility has made little progress (since the 1870ies) towards acquiring a tangible existence and survives in textbooks at the purely subjective level. On the other hand, cost of production has successfully survived Marshall's attempt to reduce it to an equally evanescent nature under the name of 'disutility', and is still kicking in the form of hours of llabour, tons of raw materials, etc. This, rather than the relative slope of the two curves, is why it seems to me that the 'influence of the two things on price is not comparable." -- Piero Sraffa (1971). Letter to Athanasios Asimakopulos, in (1)

"I am sorry to have kept your MS so long - and with so little result. The fact is that your opening sentence is for me an obstacle which I am unable to get over. You write: 'It is a basic proposition of the Sraffa theory that prices are determined exclusively by the physical requirements of production and the social wage-profit division with consumers demand playing a purely passive role.' Never have I said this: certainly not in the two places to which you refer in your note 2. Nothing, in my view, could be more suicidal than to make such a statement. You are asking me to put my head on the block so that the first fool who comes along can cut it off neatly. Whatever you do, please do not represent me as saying such a thing." -- Piero Sraffa (1964). Letter to Arun Bose, in (2)
  1. Athanasios Asimakopulos (1990). "Keynes and Sraffa: Visions and Perspectives", in Essays on Piero Sraffa: Critical Perspectives on the Revival of Classical Theory (edited by Krishna Bharadwaj and Bertram Schefold), Unwin Hyman.
  2. Ajit Sinha (2006). "A Comment on Sen's 'Sraffa, Wittgenstein, and Gramsci'", Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, V. 61: 504-512.

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